Wrestlers march to Bangla Sahib Gurudwara amid protest against WFI chief

Protesting wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and others marched from Jantar Mantar to Bangla Sahib Gurudwara on their 25th day of protest against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh

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Protesting wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and others marched from Jantar Mantar to Bangla Sahib Gurudwara in New Delhi on their 25th day of protest against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Grapplers including Punia, Sakshi, Vinesh and others joined the march demanding the arrest of the WFI chief charged with sexual harassment of athletes.

"We will take this protest at the international level. We will write letters to international Olympians and ask them to write letters in our support," Vinesh said on Monday to mediapersons.

Rio Olympic medal winner Sakshi Malik also stressed this point and said that she feels their protest is being confined to Jantar Mantar.

"We will step outside of Jantar Mantar. We feel that our protest is being confined. We want our protest to reach everybody because this is a fight for the women of our country," Sakshi Malik told the media.

In a first step to bringing the protest outside the Jantar Mantar, they "will go to Connaught Place," Vinesh added.

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On the other side, the Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur told the reporters in Hamirpur on Monday, "The committee was formed, and their concerns were also heard. An ad-hoc committee has been formed to start the day-to-day working of the Wrestling Federation by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). Trials have also started for athletes."

He added, "Supreme Court has given its judgement. Delhi Police has also registered an FIR and is recording statements. The magistrate is also registering statements. They must have faith in our law and order and end their protest."

Earlier on April 24, The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports announced that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) will be forming an ad-hoc committee to conduct the elections for the Executive Committee of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) within 45 days of its formation, to manage day-to-day affairs of the body, including the selection of athletes and making entries for the participation of players in international events. This committee will be functioning for an interim period till a new Executive Committee takes charge.

Delhi Police on Friday filed a status report on the application moved by woman wrestlers in an alleged offence of sexual offence levelled against WFI Chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The court was also informed that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed to investigate the matter.

Earlier this year, prominent wrestlers came forward to lead a protest against the WFI chief, following which the Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Thakur, announced the formation of an 'oversight committee' to probe allegations against the WFI, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and some coaches. Wrestling Federation of India Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar is also named as an accused in the FIR.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: May 18 2023 | 10:25 AM IST

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