Constitute panel, probe sexual harassment allegations against WFI chief: Wrestlers to IOA
Protest Against WFI Chief: In a letter addressed to IOA President PT Usha, the wrestlers said they have been informed by several of their younger colleagues about the sexual harassment they faced at the hands of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The letter has been signed by five wrestlers including Tokyo Olympics medallists Ravi Dahiya and Bajrang Punia.
New Delhi: The group of protesting wrestlers on Friday reached out to Indian Olympic Association (IOA), demanding the formation of an inquiry committee to probe the allegations of sexual harassment they have levelled against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, a day after threatening to lodge multiple FIRs against the top sports administrator.
In a letter addressed to IOA President PT Usha, the wrestlers said they have been informed by several of their younger colleagues about the sexual harassment they faced at the hands of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The letter has been signed by five wrestlers including Tokyo Olympics medallists Ravi Dahiya and Bajrang Punia.
Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshee Malikkh, Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia write to PT Usha, President of the Indian Olympic Association on alleged sexual harassment complaints against Brijbhushan Saran Singh, President of Wrestling Federation of India pic.twitter.com/fVZEkyabtY — ANI (@ANI) January 20, 2023
Rio Games bronze winner Sakshi Malik and World Championship medallists Vinesh Phogat and Deepak Punia have also signed the letter. The wrestlers have reiterated their demand that WFI be disbanded and its president be sacked. They also demanded that a new committee is formed, in consultation with the wrestlers, to run the affairs of the national federation.
However, WFI president, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is under huge pressure to step down over allegations of sexual harassment of women wrestlers, dismissed claims that he has spoken with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the matter and said that he will "expose the political controversy" behind the claims later this evening.
Talking to reporters, Singh stated that he has been elected president of the WFI and was not heading this federation by "the grace of some person." Singh also refuted reports claiming that he had met with Amit Shah. "I am not heading this federation by the grace of any person, I am an elected head. I have not had a talk with anyone yet. I will address a press conference later today. 300 athletes from Haryana have arrived here," Singh said.
I am not sitting here because of anyone's mercy, but after being elected by the public: WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh pic.twitter.com/Xy8dC7pBl1 — ANI (@ANI) January 20, 2023
Extremely shameful: Kejriwal on no action against those accused of sexual exploitation
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said it is "extremely shameful" that no action has been taken against those who have been accused of sexual exploitation by female wrestlers.
"From a Haryana minister to the WFI president, everyone has been accused of serious charges but there has been no resignation nor any action. This party and its government are busy shielding their leaders with respect to the security of women players. This is extremely shameful," Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi.
Celebrated Indian wrestlers, including Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik and world championship medallist Vinesh Phogat, are staging a sit-in protest at the Jantar Mantar here for the last two days against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, accusing him of sexual exploitation and intimidation.
(With Agency Inputs)