Sports Minister Anurag Thakur’s meeting with the wrestlers remained inconclusive for hours.
There were many such points which could not be discussed. That’s why this meeting will continue this morning at the Sports Minister’s residence.
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur has assured that the issue will be resolved soon.
New Delhi. The meeting of wrestlers with Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur at his residence continued for hours on the issue of allegations of sexual exploitation of female wrestlers on the President and coaches of the Wrestling Federation. This meeting ended without any decision in the early hours of Friday. According to sources, this meeting remained inconclusive, but there were many such points which could not be discussed. That’s why this meeting will continue this morning at the Sports Minister’s residence. Wrestlers have accused several coaches, including Wrestling Federation of India-WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, of sexual misconduct and harassment. The wrestlers are demanding his resignation and action against him. While Sports Minister Anurag Thakur has assured that the issue will be resolved soon.
Wrestlers Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Ravi Dahiya and other wrestlers left Anurag Thakur’s residence after meeting him for three hours. He met the minister regarding his allegations against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief. Thakur arrived at his Delhi residence from Chandigarh after several wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik, accused the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president and coaches of sexually harassing women wrestlers. Earlier in the day, champion wrestler and BJP leader Babita Phogat reached the protest site at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. Where on the second day also, the wrestlers continued their strike demanding action against the head of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and other officials.
Female wrestler Vinesh Phogat had earlier alleged that WFI coaches misbehave and harass female wrestlers. She also accused Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexually harassing girls and calling her a ‘false coin’ after her defeat in Tokyo Olympics 2020. Taking cognizance of the protest by wrestlers, including Olympic and Commonwealth Games medalists, on Wednesday, the Sports Ministry has sought an explanation from the WFI and directed it to respond to the allegations made within the next 72 hours. The ministry said that if the WFI fails to respond within the next 72 hours, the ministry will initiate action against the federation as per the provisions of the National Sports Development Code, 2011.
Whereas Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh had said that wrestlers who have accused coaches of sexual harassment should have first approached the federation with their names. The WFI president claimed that 97 per cent of the wrestlers are with the BFI and pressure has been exerted on those protesting. He denied any incident of sexual harassment. He said that ‘there has been no incident of sexual harassment. If something like this has happened, I will hang myself. He also said that he is ready for investigation. Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said that ‘sexual harassment is a big allegation. How can I act when my name has been dragged into this? I am ready for investigation.
FIRST PUBLISHED : January 20, 2023, 08:04 IST