Protesting wrestlers allege “Police working in favor of Brij Bhushan Singh”
4 May, 2023 | Anupam Shrivastav
Grappler Bajrang Punia said that the wrestlers have no issues with any government other than the WFI and its president.
Champion wrestler Vinesh Phogat and other protesting wrestlers against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) accused Delhi Police on Thursday of siding with the federation’s president, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, and urged them to release the detained protestors.
A brawl broke out between protesting wrestlers and Delhi Police at the protest site on Wednesday night. The wrestlers claimed that law enforcement personnel mistreated and abused them. “Delhi Police is working in favor of Brijbhushan Sharan Singh,” Vinesh Phogat said addressing the media.
“We will follow whatever orders they issue. They have also said that we can go to Delhi High Court or Magistrate. We will do it in case timely action is not taken,” the wrestler added.
In the midst of a protest by top wrestlers in the national capital, the Delhi Police told the Supreme Court that the grapplers, including a minor complainant, were given adequate protection.
In the midst of a protest by top wrestlers in the national capital, the Delhi Police told the Supreme Court that the wrestlers, including a minor complainant, were given adequate protection.
The Supreme Court noted on Thursday that the petition’s aim had been met because an FIR had been filed and wrestlers had been provided with protection. The Supreme Court stated that the processes have been concluded at this point and that if the petitioners require anything more they can approach the magistrate or the High Court within its jurisdiction.
Olympic medalist Bajrang Punia stated that the wrestlers have no issues with any government other than the WFI and its president. He also requested Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar to attend and show his support for the wrestlers.
“I urge him (Haryana CM) to come here and support us, it is about giving justice to the daughters of this country,” Bajrang said.
Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia also accused the protestors of being imprisoned and demanded that they be released by the Delhi Police. On Thursday, police detained 15 individuals, including a leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, who were on their way to Delhi’s Jantar Mantar to support the protesting wrestlers.
Abhimanyu Kohar, leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, and others were on their way to join the wrestlers’ protest against WFI President Brij Bhushan Singh over alleged sexual harassment charges against him.
PT Usha had met the protesting wrestlers earlier
PT Usha, president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), met with the protesting wrestlers at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday. PT Usha, a Rajya Sabha MP and retired Indian track and field athlete, had already caused feathers by suggesting that the wrestlers should have sought the IOA instead of taking to the streets against the WFI and its president.
“Indian Olympic Association is having a committee for sexual harassment, instead of going to the streets they (protesting wrestlers) could have come to us earlier but they did not come to IOA. It is not good for sports not only for wrestlers, they should also have some discipline,” IOA President said last week which was not received well by the wrestlers protesting at Jantar Mantar.
After prominent wrestlers led a protest against the WFI chief three months ago, the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports announced the formation of a ‘oversight committee’ to investigate allegations against the WFI, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, and some coaches.
Punia, Vinesh Phogat, and Sakshi Malik returned to the Jantar Mantar protest site on April 23. They stated that six female wrestlers and a youngster submitted a sexual harassment complaint against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh at the Connaught Place Police Station, but no FIR was registered. The protesting grapplers also demanded that the Ministry make the Oversight Committee’s conclusions public.
7 days into the protest, police filed two FIRs against WFI president Brij Bhushan Singh, alleging sexual harassment and exploitation of female wrestlers including a minor.
“The wrestlers should have taken this step three months ago. FIR has been registered, now the wrestlers should focus on their practice. Even the Prime Minister does not have the right to punish, only the court does,” said Yogeshwar Dutt.
The wrestlers have stated unequivocally that they will not move until justice is served and Brij Bhushan is removed as WFI president and imprisoned.