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Rahul Gandhi meets wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia at Virendra Akhara in Haryana amid WFI row

The sports ministry, however, suspended the WFI till further notice on Sunday, after the wrestling body made a "hasty announcement" of organising the under-15 and under-20 national competitions "without following due procedure and not giving sufficient notice to wrestlers" for preparations.

Reported By : Kumar Sonu Edited By : Raju Kumar
New Delhi
Updated on: December 27, 2023 11:58 IST
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi meets wrestlers
Image Source : INDIA TV Congress leader Rahul Gandhi meets wrestlers

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi visited Virendra Akhara, Chhara village, Bahadurgarh, Haryana amid controversy around the Wrestling Federation Of India (WFI). He met wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia. Chhara village is home to Punia. The meeting came a day after World Championship medallist Vinesh Phogat returned her Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award to the government in protest against Sanjay's election.

"He came to see our wrestling routine. He did wrestling. He came to see the day-to-day activities of a wrestler," said Poonia on Gandhi visiting Virender Arya Akhara in Chhara village of Jhajjar district.

Priyanka Gandhi met wrestler Sakshi Malik
Earlier, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met Sakshi Malik at the wrestler's residence to express her solidarity with Malik who announced her retirement from wrestling in protest against the election of Sanjay Singh as the president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). The WFI election was held on December 21, with Sanjay Singh, a loyalist of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, and his panel winning the polls by big margins. However, the Sports Ministry, later, suspended the WFI as controversy over the election of its chief snowballed.
Meanwhile, Priyanka accused the Centre on Monday of spreading "false news" about dissolving the WFI and alleged that its activities have been stopped to spread confusion and shelter a BJP MP who has been accused of sexual harassment by female wrestlers.
She also alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) always protects the accused with all its might and tortures the victims whenever incidents of atrocities on women come to light.
"The BJP is spreading false news about dissolving the wrestling federation. The federation has not been dissolved, its activities have been stopped so that the accused can be saved by spreading confusion.
Do they have to stoop to this level to suppress the voice of aggrieved women?" the Congress general secretary asked in a post in Hindi on X.
"The well-known players who made the country proud accused a BJP MP of sexual harassment and the government stood with the accused. The victims were tortured and the accused was rewarded," she said, adding that even the prime minister and the home minister did not pay attention to the issue. 

Wrestlers' protests against Brij Bhushan

Several top wrestlers, including Olympic medallists Malik and Bajrang Punia and World Championship medallist Vinesh Phogat, have levelled allegations of sexual harassment against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the MP from Kaiserganj in Uttar Pradesh, and the case is being heard by the Delhi High Court. The former WFI chief has denied the allegations against him and claimed that he is being targeted under a conspiracy hatched by Congress leaders.

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