Abhinav Bindra, a member of the Olympic Athletes Commission and gold medalist shooter at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has expressed his support for the Indian wrestlers who are currently protesting at Jantar Mantar in the nation’s capital against wrestling body president and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over allegations of sexual harassment.
“As athletes, we train hard every day to represent our country on the international stage. It is deeply concerning to see our athletes finding it necessary to protest on the streets regarding the allegations of harassment in the Indian wrestling administration,” Bindra tweeted on Wednesday.
He further averred, “My heart goes out to all those who have been affected. We must ensure that this issue is handled properly, with the athletes’ concerns heard and addressed fairly and independently. This incident highlights the crucial need for a proper safeguarding mechanism that can prevent harassment and ensure justice for those affected. We must work towards creating a safe and secure environment for all athletes to thrive in.”
Ace Olympian Shiva Keshavan reposted Bindra’s tweet and added, “The predicament of the wrestling community that has not seen any resolution despite the public protests is a stern reminder that we need proper systems in place to protect athletes. Sport institutions need to be much more proactive and i support the voices asking for swift action.”
The nation’s top wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, and Vinesh Phogat, protested on Sunday at Jantar Mantar after seven female wrestlers accused BJP MP and Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of criminal intimidation and sexual harassment. They also claimed that the harassment occurred at least four times at Brij Bhushan’s MP bungalow on Ashoka Road.
The seven female wrestlers who had each filed a separate complaint said on Tuesday that they were being threatened with severe penalties and offered money in exchange for their silence.