Wrestlers’ protest: WFI meeting in Ayodhya cancelled

The move comes after the Union sports ministry formed an Oversight Committee

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By: Dharmendra Rajpoot | GONDA, UTTAR PRADESH
Updated: 22 January, 2023 11:03 am IST
WFI was scheduled to host general body meeting in Ayodhya today

The much-anticipated general council meeting of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) in Ayodhya has been cancelled.

The move comes after the Sports Ministry set up an oversight committee to probe the allegations levelled against the federation and its president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

WFI president Singh will temporarily step aside after the protest by top wrestlers against the federation and him. Singh had earlier said that the allegations would be discussed in the meeting, which was set to be held in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.

The development comes after the Sports Ministry on Saturday formed an ‘Oversight committee’ to probe the allegations levelled by some of the top wrestlers, including former World Championship winner Vinesh Phogat, Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, and international stars Anshu Malik and Ravi Kumar Dahiya.

The oversight committee will probe the allegations against the WFI and its president, Singh, and also take over the daily functioning of the federation until the probe is completed.

Sports Minister Anurag Thakur confirmed on Saturday that Brij Bhushan would step aside until the probe is completed.

Following Thakur’s intervention and assurance of action, the wrestlers also agreed to end their protest. The wrestlers had two rounds of meetings with the Sports Minister at his residence on Friday.

“Considering the demands of the sportspersons, we have decided to constitute an oversight committee, whose names will be announced tomorrow,” Union minister Thakur had said in the wee hours of Saturday.

“The investigation will be completed in the next four weeks, wherein all the allegations levelled will be thoroughly probed to reach a final decision,” he added.

Thakur also said that WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh would step aside until the probe ends.

“The committee will see all the day-to-day workings till the investigation is complete, and till then, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh will step aside and cooperate with the investigation,” he said.

On Saturday, the WFI denied all allegations, including sexual harassment, levelled against its president, Singh, claiming that “there is no scope for arbitrariness and mismanagement” in the sports body.

Meanwhile, the Indian Olympic Association (IOC) also formed a 7-member committee, headed by legendary boxer Mary Kom, to probe the allegations of the wrestlers.

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