On Day 2 of protests at Jantar Mantar against the functioning of the Wrestling Federation of India and allegations of sexual harassment against its chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan, one of the prominent faces of the agitation Olympic medalist Sakshi Malik demanded the complete dissolution of the sports body.
“We demand the complete dissolution of the federation. WFI and state federations should be shut. There should be a new beginning. Better, honest people should be at the helm of affairs,” she said speaking to The New Indian.
On being asked about BJP leader and fellow wrestler Babita Phogat’s visit to the protest site, she said, “She came as a representative of the government. We told her everything. She herself is a very good player. She supports us,” said Malik.
Malik also highlighted that the reason they had to come out in an organsised way to protest against the state of affairs at the WFI was that it was getting difficult for them to see their juniors suffer. “This was happening for a long time. But now all limits had been crossed. We couldn’t see our juniors being meted out unfair treatment,” she said.
Malik was part of the tell-all press conference held by the protesting wrestlers at Jantar Mantar today. She along with Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia – Olympians and medal winners – have emerged as the prominent faces of this agitation.
They threatened to proceed with legal action if their demands were not met. Narrating the ordeal of female wrestlers in India Vinesh Phogat said, “Something extremely wrong has happened to women wrestlers. Several women wrestlers can vouch for this. I challenge it, if Chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh sits with me for 2 minutes and looks into his eyes, everything will be proven. UP’s women’s wrestling has been totally ruined because of such exploitation by the Federation.” said Vinesh Phogat at the press briefing.
Meanwhile, sports minister Anurag Thakur said that he will meet the protesting wrestlers after he reached Delhi from Chandigarh. He said the allegations made by the wrestlers have been taken seriously by the government and his ministry has taken swift action by sending a notice to WFI and seeking a reply within 72 hours.