Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Thursday said that the complaints by the wrestlers against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and its chief are serious in nature and he will meet the wrestlers and listen to them when they return to the national capital. Many wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Mallick, have raised allegations of sexual harassment of female wrestlers by the president and coaches of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and mismanagement of the federation’s functioning. Tagore says he will meet the wrestlers and necessary action will be taken.
“Government has worked for the welfare and development of sports and players. India has won many medals and given good performances at the world level. Federations have worked to do better. Wrestlers’ complaints are serious in nature. Acting swiftly, the Government of India has sent a notice to the WFI and Seeks reply within 72 hours. The camp has been postponed. I will try to meet the wrestlers after I reach Delhi. We will talk and listen to them and take necessary action.” Thakur told ANI.
Earlier on Thursday, champion wrestler and BJP leader Babita Phogat reached the protest site at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar where wrestlers continued their sit-in for the second day demanding action against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and other officials. sexual exploitation of several athletes and “harassment of wrestlers through arbitrary rules and regulations of the WFI”.
“I have assured them that the government is with them. I will try so that their problems are resolved today,” Babita Phogat said after addressing the rally.
Babita, who is Deputy Director of Haryana Sports and Youth Affairs Department and a former wrestler, had earlier tweeted, “I stand by all my fellow athletes on this issue of wrestling. I assure you all that I will work to raise it. The issue with Govt. at every level, And future decisions will be made as the players see fit.”
For the second day, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, among others gathered at Delhi’s Yantar Mantra and were joined by other members of the fraternity.
Vinesh Phogat had earlier alleged that WFI’s favorite coaches misbehaved and harassed women. He also accused wrestling federation chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexually harassing girls and called him a ‘fake sikka’ after his defeat at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Vinesh, the first Indian woman wrestler to win gold at both the Commonwealth and Asian Games, alleged, “Coaches are harassing women and some coaches, who are federation favourites, misbehave with women coaches too. They sexually harass girls. WFI president sexually harasses many girls.” did.”
On Wednesday, taking cognizance of the protest staged by wrestlers, including Olympic and Commonwealth Games (CWG) medalists, the Sports Ministry sought an explanation from the WFI and directed it to reply within the next 72 hours on the complaint.
The ministry said that if the WFI fails to respond within the next 72 hours, the ministry will initiate action against the federation as per the provisions of the National Sports Development Code, 2011.
Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on Wednesday said that wrestlers, who have alleged sexual harassment against coaches, should have approached the federation with their names earlier.
The WFI president claimed that 97 per cent of the wrestlers were with the BFI and that those protesting were pressured.
He denied any incident of sexual harassment.
“There has been no incident of sexual harassment. If it had happened, I would have hanged myself,” the WFI president told a press conference.
He also said that he is ready for investigation.
“Sexual harassment is a big allegation. How do I take action when my own name is dragged into it? I am ready for an inquiry,” he added.
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