Protest will end only if BJP MP Brijbhushan is arrested: Wrestlers

The protestors claim that WFI officials are trying to force the complainants to withdraw their police complaint by offering them money.

| Updated: 25 April, 2023 3:58 pm IST
wrestlers protest
Wrestlers demand a case of sexual harassment and the arrest of BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. (TNI photo by Sumit Kumar)

New Delhi: A group of wrestlers, including Commonwealth Games medalists Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia, have said that they will not their protest Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, who is accused of sexual harassment, is arrested.

“This protest will end only when a case is registered against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and he is arrested,” declared Punia.

The wrestlers have been holding a demonstration at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar for the past three days. Seven female wrestlers, including one minor, have filed complaints against Singh but the police have yet to register an FIR.

The protestors claim that WFI officials are trying to force the complainants to withdraw their police complaint by offering them money.

At a press conference, Punia expressed his lack of faith in any committee, including the oversight committee formed by the sports ministry in January.

He claimed that the committee failed to produce any report and that Singh had received a clean chit.

ALSO READ: Wrestlers seek political support against Brijbhushan; WFI polls postponed

“There was no consensus among members of the oversight committee. Babita Phogat (a committee member and BJP leader) has told us that she was not shown the report and it was made without her consensus,” said wrestler Sakshi Malik.

According to a report, Phogat – who herself is a wrestler – has accused Sports Authority of India (SAI) member Radhika Sreeman of snatching a copy of the report from her. She also said that her objections were ignored and that Sreeman misbehaved with her.

Meanwhile, many political leaders, including former Haryana CM and Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Congress leader Dr Udit Raj, and CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat joined the protest in response to a call by the demonstrators.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has sought response of the Delhi Police over a plea filed by the complainant female wrestlers for registration of the FIR against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

On Monday, demonstrators sought support from fellow sportspersons, political leaders and members of khap panchayat in Haryana. “Any politicians from any party are welcome to join our protest. If someone comes, they won’t seek votes here so there is no politics involved,” said Bajrang Punia.

Adding to his comment, Sakshi had said: “Last time, we were manipulated by some people and we didn’t take support from anyone. We rejected khap panchayats’ offer of support. I apologise for it and seek their support.”

The wrestlers sat on a dharna at Jantar Mantar in January, after which the government had formed the oversight committee. On Monday, they claimed that the panel had given a clean chit to accused Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

As wrestlers questioned the oversight committee’s investigation, the Union sports ministry on Monday directed the Indian Olympic Association to postpone the elections of the federation and set up an ad-hoc committee for the elections of the executive committee of the WFI within 45 days of its formation to manage its day-to-day affairs.

Singh, who has been the head of WFI for the past 12 years, is a BJP parliamentarian.

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