The tussle between the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and the wrestlers is yet to end. The demonstration of wrestlers at Jantar Mantar in Delhi continues for the third day. Faced with pressure to resign from his post over allegations of sexual harassment by women wrestlers, WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has said he will expose the “political conspiracy” at a press conference on Friday afternoon.
BJP MP from Kaisarganj, Uttar Pradesh, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has said in a post on his Facebook that he will hold a press conference at the wrestling training center in Nawabganj, Gonda district of the state. There is to be a press conference this evening. Earlier, Singh said that the timing of the press conference would be changed from 4 pm today to afternoon.
Anurag Thakur’s meeting with wrestlers was inconclusive
The development came hours after a meeting of some wrestlers with Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur late on Thursday night. Anurag Thakur, who reached his Delhi residence from Chandigarh on Thursday evening, met the wrestlers and the meeting went on till early hours today. According to sources, the meeting ended inconclusive.
Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, Ravi Dahiya and others were seen leaving Thakur’s residence around 3 am today. As per sources, Anurag Thakur is likely to meet the wrestlers again today.
The Union Sports Ministry has sought a response from the WFI within 72 hours on the allegations leveled by the wrestlers. The ministry said that if the WFI fails to respond within the next 72 hours, it will initiate action against the federation, as per the provisions of the National Sports Development Code, 2011. Its deadline ends on Saturday.
Wrestlers adamant on demanding change in Wrestling Federation
Protests by many veteran wrestlers of the country including Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia have been going on since Wednesday at Jantar Mantar in the capital. The wrestlers taking part in the protest have alleged sexual harassment of women wrestlers by the WFI president and his coaches and mismanagement of the affairs of the federation. These wrestlers are adamant on demanding changes in the federation.
Bajrang Punia had said on Thursday, “We want a complete change in the wrestling federation. The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) should be dissolved and reconstituted. There are people in the state wrestling federations too who have links with the WFI president.” We also want the state associations to be reorganized.
The protesting wrestlers have demanded the resignation of the WFI president and action against him. Champion wrestler and Haryana BJP leader Babita Phogat, who reached the protest site at Jantar Mantar on Thursday, assured them that as a fellow wrestler, she would work to raise the issue before the government at all levels.
Vinesh Phogat accuses Brijbhushan Sharan Singh of sexually harassing girls
Vinesh Phogat had earlier alleged that the WFI’s favorite coach misbehaves with women and harasses them. He also accused Wrestling Federation chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexually harassing girls and calling him a ‘false coin’ after his defeat in Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Wrestling Federation of India President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has denied all the allegations leveled against him and said that the protesting wrestlers should have approached the federation first. Singh also claimed that 97 per cent of the wrestlers were with the WFI and those who were participating in the protests were forced to do so. Addressing a press conference in the national capital on Wednesday, the WFI president had said, “There has been no incident of sexual harassment. If something like this has happened, I will hang myself.”