Wrestlers Protest | The Wrestling Federation of India has sent a reply to the Sports Ministry of India over the allegations against its Presiden Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The Federation has rejected all the allegations made by the Indian wrestlers, including that of sexual harassment against the body's president Singh.
"The WFI is managed by an elected body as per its constitution, and therefore, there is no scope for arbitrariness and mismanagement in WFI by anyone individually, including the president," the WFI said in its response to the sports ministry. "The WFI, in particular, under the sitting president has always acted keeping the best interests of wrestlers in mind. The WFI has enhanced the image of wrestling sport nationally as well as internationally and for the record of this ministry, it is not possible without fair, supportive, clean and strict management of WFI," it added.
The wrestlers ended their demonstration on Friday evening after receiving promises from the government that their complaints would be taken care of, the initial action being the resignation of the Wrestling Federation of India Chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh who was facing criticism.
The government decided to form an oversight committee which will investigate the allegations of sexual harassment of women wrestlers by the WFI president. The committee, members of which will be named on Saturday, will also oversee the day-to-day affairs of the federation. Making the announcement, Thakur said the committee will submit its report in one month's time.
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"It has been decided that an oversight committee will be formed, names for which will be announced tomorrow. The committee will complete its investigation within four weeks. It will thoroughly probe all the allegations be it financial or sexual harassment that have been levelled against WFI and its chief," Thakur said after the meeting that lasted close to five hours.
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"Till the investigation is over, he (Singh) will step aside and cooperate with the investigation and the oversight committee will run the day-to-day affairs of WFI," Thakur added. Talking to the media, Bajrang Punia said they never wanted to take the protest route but they were "pushed to limit".
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"The protest is over. We did not want to sit on dharna but 'paani sar se ooper chala gaya tha'. The government has assured us safety and security, we have been threatened by the WFI president in the past also," the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist said, adding that 2023 was a crucial year for them as the Asian Games and Olympic Qualifiers are approaching.
(Inputs from PTI)