Some of the top wrestlers of India have been protesting at Jantar Mantar in Delhi since Sunday, 23rd April over the sexual harassment and intimidation complaints against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and Delhi Police’s inability to file an FIR against him.

The wrestlers protesting include revered champions like Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia, Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik and world medallist Vinesh Phogat along with several other wrestlers.

Neeraj Chopra’s Support

Ace athlete and Olympic champion in Javelin throw, Neeraj Chopra is now the second individual to give his public support to the wrestlers after shooting champion Abhinav Bindra.

In a tweet, Chopra posted a statement saying “It hurts me to see our athletes on the streets demanding justice. They have worked hard to represent our great nation and make us proud.

As a nation, we are responsible for safeguarding the integrity and dignity of every individual, athlete or not.

What’s happening should never happen. This is a sensitive issue, and must be dealt with in an impartial and transparent manner.

Pertaining authorities must take quick action in order to ensure that justice is served.”

The Protest

On 21st April 2023, seven women wrestlers filed individual complaints against Brij Bhushan that accused him of not just sexual harassment but also criminal intimidation across 10 years from 2012 to 2022.

Actually, the protests had first started in January but at that time were placated into calling it off with promises of action being taken against the BJP MP.

However, they were once again resuming their protests because of several reasons some of them being:

  • outcome from the oversight committee formed by the sports ministry to look into the complaints of sexual harassment against Brij Bhushan not being known
  • delay from government in releasing the report
  • Brij Bhushan still being in an important position in WFI with the first national tournament taking place in his backyard in Gonda

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When sufficient action was not taken Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, and Vinesh Phogat have been at the forefront of the protests with Anshu Malik, Sonam Malik, Ravi Dahiya, and Deepak Punia also having joined during the early protests in January.

Now it is mostly Malik, Punia and Phogat that are carrying the protests demanding that the Delhi Police is delaying filing an FIR against Brij Bushan because of his influence.

Also it is not just Brij Bhushan being alleged of various things but as per a letter sent by the Sports Ministry letter to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Monday, other federation officials and coaches have been name called out too. Their identities have not yet been confirmed.

The Aftermath

IOA president PT Usha on the other hand, spoke out against the protesting wrestlers saying that their protesting instead of approaching the association showed a lack of discipline.

Speaking to reports she said “Our feeling is that for sexual harassment complaints, IOA has a committee and athletes’ commission. Instead of going to the street (again), they should have come to us, but they have not at all come to IOA.”

She further added that “We want to be with not just the wrestlers but with every athlete who has represented India, but under the rules and the law of the country.”

This reaction was not taken well by the wrestlers, with Bajrang Punia saying that “She herself was an athlete and she is also a woman. We did not expect this harsh reaction from her, we expected support.”

In the latest update, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has asked the Supreme Court that the petition filed by the wrestlers should be disposed of now that the Delhi Police has registered an FIR against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Speaking in front of a bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha, Mehta stated that “The FIR will be registered today. Nothing survives now,” and asked that the petition against Delhi Police that had been filed should be disposed of as its core demand was met.

Apparently, the wrestlers don’t plan on stopping their protest with Punia in a press conference saying that “Our protest will continue until he is sent to jail.”

While they believe an FIR as good, however, they don’t trust the Delhi Police thinking they might file a loose FIR against the BJP MP from Kaiserganj in UP.

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: Hindustan Times, Business Today, The Indian Express

Find the blogger: @chirali_08

This post is tagged under: indian Wrestler Protest, Bajrang Punia, pt usha, Wrestlers protest, Indian Olympic Association, neeraj chopra, Neeraj Chopra supports wrestlers, wrestlers protests Jantar Mantar, Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, Wrestling Federation, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh complaint, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh wfi

Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.

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