Form new committee for probe, protesting wrestlers write to IOA
An urgent meeting of the Indian Olympic Association's (IOA) Executive Council has been called on Friday evening to discuss the letters received from wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia. The letter demands the IOA form a new committee to investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against the Wrestling Federation of India's (WFI) chief and coaches.
Why does this story matter?
- Several Indian wrestlers have accused WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and his associates of sexual misconduct and are protesting at Delhi's Jantar Mantar, demanding his removal and dissolution of the wrestling body.
- Singh, a BJP Lok Sabha MP representing Uttar Pradesh's Kaiserganj, has refuted the charges. The sports ministry has directed the WFI to respond to the harassment allegations within 72 hours.
Don't politicize our agitation: Sakshi Malik
Sakshi Malik, India's first woman Olympic medallist wrestler, said that their protest concerned athletes' future. She said they are agitating against the WFI and its president, and their struggle shouldn't be used for political benefit. Following a meeting with Union sports minister Anurag Thakur on Thursday, the wrestlers headed to his residence on Friday at 6 pm for the second round of the meeting.
IOA likely to form new committee, claim reports
As per media reports, the IOA is likely to form a committee for probe as demanded by the protesting wrestlers. Unsatisfied by the government's response to their plea, the wrestlers have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the matter. Reportedly, Singh can't be sacked as he has been elected to the post and not appointed by the government.
Wrestlers back Singh, say senior wrestlers trying to gatekeep
Olympic medallist boxer Vijender Singh came out in support of the protesting wrestlers and demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the matter. Meanwhile, some wrestlers backed Singh saying that they never had such an experience and it was a ploy by the star wrestlers to prevent the emergence of younger wrestlers who would in turn replace them.
Wrestlers protest is dharna of Shaheen Bagh: Singh
Meanwhile, Singh likened the wrestlers' agitation to Shaheen Bagh's protest, referring to the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) demonstrations in which Delhi's Shaheen Bagh became a locus of the otherwise nationwide struggle. Singh said Congress and Deepinder Hooda are using the wrestlers to attack the BJP using him as a medium. He added that Congress hatched a similar "conspiracy" against him three decades ago.