On Thursday, India’s star wrestlers are continuing their silent protest against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) alleging the severe claim of sexual exploitation of multiple athletes by the federation chief and several other coaches who are a part of the association. This act of sexual harassment have been carried out for years, as claimed by the players. “Today is the second day of our protest and we haven’t got any satisfactory response from the government. We will make sure Brij Bhushan Singh resigns and is jailed. We will also file a case,” wrestler Vinesh Phogat said during a press address at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
Vinesh Phogat has earlier raised her voice against the coaches who are the choice of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) misbehaved with women wrestlers. She further accused the federation chief of exploiting women players and thereby identifying him as a ‘khota sikka’.
The Union Sports Ministry has ordered for a justification within the next 72 hours, while the federation chief has denied all such allegations. Olympian wrestler Bajrang Punia said, “Five to six women wrestlers are here with us who have faced these atrocities and we have evidence to prove it.”
Olympic champion wrestler Sakshee Malikkh averred, “Government did not promise any action, they have only given assurance and we’re not happy with the response, we request PM sir to ensure justice.”
Former wrestler and Haryana BJP leader Babita Phogat arrived at the spot and mustered hope for the demonstrators. “I have assured them that the government is with them. I will try that their issues are resolved today,” Babita said.
“Babita Phogat has come from the government’s side for mediation. We will speak with her and then give more details,” wrestler Bajrang Punia said.
Some time later, the Olympians complained about the tragic fallout, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson Swati Maliwal issued a notice to Delhi police and the Union Sports ministry seeking this matter.
“Sportspersons work hard to win medals for the country, but the Federation has done nothing but let us down. Players are being harassed by imposing arbitrary laws,” Sakshee Malikkh tweeted.
The Wrestling Federation of India is chaired by Brij Bushan Singh who is a Lok Sabha MP from BJP, as the President. He said on Wednesday these allegations have been pressurized upon the wrestlers, the players should have approached the federation with the names much before.
“97 per cent of players are with the WFI. I am hurt by the sexual harassment allegations. Not a single player can bring such charges against me or the chief coach. Some wrestlers were pressured to sit on a dharna,” Singh said.