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Wrestlers grapple for justice as they resume protest against WFI chief




Country’s top wrestlers, including Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat, returned to protest site Jantar Mantar on Sunday and demanded that the government makes public the findings of the oversight panel that investigated into sexual harassment allegations against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

The wrestlers also demanded that an FIR be lodged against the WFI boss, who has denied the allegations that first surfaced in January this year when grapplers had staged a ‘sit-in’ protest and demanded that federation be disbanded. The six-member oversight panel, headed by legendary boxer MS Mary Kom, had submitted its report in the first week of April but the government has not yet made it public.

No urgency shown

“How long is it going to take for the [government] committee to submit its report. It’s already been three months and we are still waiting to hear from them. Will the report come out after the girls, who have filed complaints, die?,” questioned Vinesh, the world championship medallist.

“We are tired of asking the government to release the findings. We have filed a complaint at a police station in Connaught Place and want an FIR to be filed against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh,” she added. Singh, who has completed 12 years as WFI president, has confirmed that he will not contest for the top post in the WFI election on May 7. However he had indicated that he may find a role for himself within the national federation.

“You people can see who is running the federation despite such serious charges. We only have the power of truth which I suppose is not sufficient,” she said, adding, “The least the government can do is to take action on the sexual harassment that has been done. We demand justice. We will continue out protest.”

During the three-month period since the country’s top wrestlers made the allegations, Singh has appeared before the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the government’s oversight panel.

Charges couldn’t be proved?

However, multiple sources have confirmed that the wrestlers couldn’t prove the sexual harassment charges against the WFI chief. “We will not budge from Jantar Mantar,” Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik, adding “this fight will not stop.”

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