20 Jan 2023

WFI Controversy: Wrestlers' Continue Protest Even After Talks With Anurag Thakur; Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh To Hold Press Meet

New Delhi: The protest by wrestlers, which started on Wednesday, continues. Today is the third day of the protest. 30 wrestlers started the protest on Wednesday at Delhi's Jantar Mantar. Now many other wrestlers and wrestling coaches have come in his support. Many politicians have also supported the protesting wrestlers.

The Central Government has swung into action regarding the allegations of women wrestlers against the President of Wrestling Association of India and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. A day earlier, the Sports Ministry had sent a notice to the Wrestling Federation of India seeking a reply within 72 hours, but by Thursday evening, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur himself took the lead. According to some media reports, an ultimatum has been issued to Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh to resign within 24 hours. This means the government can take some big action today to end the whole controversy.

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh will present his side in front of the media at 12 o'clock. It is believed that during this time he can also announce his resignation.

In the latest development, the Sports Ministry has asked Wrestling Federation Of India President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh to resign from his post within 24 hours. The development comes after Sports Minister Anurag Thakur's meeting with the agitating wrestlers in New Delhi on Thursday, January 19. Brij Bhushan has been given 24 hours to resign from his post by the Sports Ministry.

Sports Minister  invited protesting wrestlers for dinner

Earlier, Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur invited the protesting wrestlers for dinner at his official residence. Anurag Thakur said- Will talk to the players and solve their problems. Many wrestlers including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Ravi Dahiya, Deepak Punia, Babita Phogat reached the Sports Minister's house.

Thakur assured the protesting wrestlers that strict action would be taken if any Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) coach or official is found guilty. 

Wrestlers demand dissolution of WFI

The protesting wrestlers are believed to have demanded the resignation of Brij Bhushan and dissolution of the WFI. However, Thakur asked them to wait for an official reply from the WFI as the Sports Ministry had sought a reply from WFI within 72 hours on Wednesday. 

The wrestlers said there was no politics involved in the protest and they had taken to the streets to save wrestling from corrupt and abusive administrators.

Earlier, Thakur had said in Chandigarh – Sports Ministry has sent a notice to Wrestling Federation of India seeking reply in 72 hours. The upcoming camp has also been postponed with immediate effect. I am going to Delhi and will meet the wrestlers.

I am being victimized: Brij Bhushan

Earlier, WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said – I will not resign. I am being politically victimized at the behest of Congress leader Deepender Hooda. Those who are making allegations, their career is over. Most of the wrestlers are from the same community. I will follow the orders of the party.

On Thursday, the ministry also called the aggrieved players and talked to them for about an hour after the country's women wrestlers protested against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Earlier, the wrestlers demanded removal of the WFI president, now they want to disband the wrestling association. They said- The sit-in demonstration will continue till the demands are fulfilled.

Khap Panchayats of Haryana can also reach the dharna

Meanwhile, the Khap Panchayats of Haryana can also reach the dharna. On Thursday, on the call of Phogat Khap, an all-caste Sarva Khap Panchayat was held. In this, it was decided that if the demands of the wrestlers are not met, then the Khap Panchayats will join the dharna in two days.

IAO President PT Usha assures justice

The Indian Olympic Association has now taken cognizance of the growing issue between the wrestling federation and the wrestlers. Association president PT Usha has tweeted asking more players to come forward.

PT Usha tweeted: "As IOA President, I've been discussing the current matter of wrestlers with the members and for all of us the welfare and well being of the athletes is the top most priority of IOA. We request athletes to come forward and voice their concerns with us."

What is the case

WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and some coaches were accused of sexual harassment by Olympic winning players. More than 200 players are protesting at Delhi's Jantar Mantar since Wednesday i.e. 18th January. 

Earlier, Vinesh Phogat, the first Indian woman wrestler to win gold in both Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, said that they have not got any satisfactory reply from the government.

"Unfortunately we did not get a satisfactory response", she said. "Yesterday, we had 1-2 victims amongst us but now we have 5-6 wrestlers, who were harassed (sexually). We can't name them now, after all they are daughters and sisters of somebody. But if we are forced to disclose their identity, it will be a black day."

Vinesh said, "It's not just about his (Brij Bhushan) resignation. We will send him to jail. We did not want to take the legal route, because we had hoped for resolution but if a proper solution is not provided, we will lodge FIRs against the President. We are World Championship and Olympic medallists, don't suspect us, we are telling the truth, believe us."

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