Wrestlers Protest Ends: Wrestlers protesting at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar since January 18, 2023, ended their strike late on Friday, January 20, after getting assurance from the government to address their grievances. In the first step to address their grievances, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has come under attack, is being stripped of his presidential duties.
Wrestlers including Vinesh Phogat, Banjrag Punia, Sakshi Malik and Ravi Dahiya, among others, decided to end their sit-in after the second round of talks with Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur resolved the impasse. The wrestlers had made allegations of sexual harassment and corruption against the Wrestling Federation of India and its president.
Committee will investigate in 4 weeks
The wrestlers had a meeting with Anurag Thakur at his residence. The meeting lasted for about 5 hours. After the meeting, the Sports Minister said, ‘It has been decided to form a monitoring committee, the names of whose members will be announced on Saturday, January 21. The committee will complete the inquiry in four weeks. It will seriously investigate all allegations of financial or sexual harassment against the WFI and its President. Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh will stay away from the Wrestling Federation of India till the investigation is completed and cooperate in the investigation, while the day-to-day work of the WFI will be looked after by the Monitoring Committee.
We didn’t want to sit on dharna, but water had gone above our heads: Bajrang Punia
Bajrang Punia said, the Sports Minister listened to us completely and has assured proper investigation. I thank them. We are ending our picketing as we expect the committee to conduct an impartial inquiry. Bajrang Punia said that he never wanted to take the path of protest, but he was harassed till he crossed the boundary line.
Bronze medalist in Tokyo Olympics Bajrang Punia Said, the protest is over. We didn’t want to sit on the dharna but the water had gone above our heads. The government has assured us of safety and security. In the past, we were also threatened by the WFI president. The year 2023 is an important year for him, as the Asian Games and Olympic qualifiers are round the corner.
Wrestlers and Sports Minister did not answer media questions
However, neither the Sports Minister nor the wrestlers responded to media queries. Earlier in the day, the wrestlers had said that they would file multiple FIRs against the WFI chief. However, did not do so after talking to the Sports Minister.
The development can be termed as a victory for the agitating wrestlers, who had said that they would continue their ‘dharna’ until the WFI president was sacked and the federation dissolved.
Sports Ministry cannot dissolve the federation
However, under the constitution of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), a National Sports Federation (NSF) cannot be dissolved unless it has violated the rules and regulations of the IOA or is not recognized by the world body of the sport. Have been done
Wrestlers had also complained to IOA President PT Usha
Earlier in the day, the wrestlers reached out to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) demanding an inquiry. In a letter to IOA president PT Usha, the wrestlers alleged embezzlement of funds by the WFI and claimed that the coaches and sports science staff at the national camp were grossly incompetent.
wrestlers also reiterated its demand for dissolution of WFI and sacking of its president. In his fourth and final demand, he wrote, ‘A new committee should be formed to run the affairs of WFI in consultation with the wrestlers.’ Responding to this, the IOA constituted a seven-member committee headed by MC Mary Kom to probe the allegations.