Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia on Friday wrote to Indian Olympic Association president PT Usha regarding allegations of “sexual harassment” against Wrestling Federation India chairman Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. In a letter to IOA president Usha, the star grapplers accused the WFI chairman of sexual exploitation and financial irregularities.
The letter, signed by Bajrang Punia, Phogat, Malik, Dahiya and Deepak Punia, demanded the resignation of the WFI chief and the formation of an inquiry committee into allegations of sexual harassment.
— Vinesh Phogat (@Phogat_Vinesh) January 20, 2023
Several wrestlers from the country including Phogat, Malik and Bajrang Punia on Thursday took part in the sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar in the national capital that began on Wednesday.
Wrestlers have alleged sexual harassment of women wrestlers by the WFI president and its coaches and mismanagement of the federation’s operations. They demanded a complete overhaul of the federation.
Indian wrestler and Commonwealth Games medalist Vinesh Phogat, on the first day of protests on Wednesday, alleged that the Wrestling Federation of India’s (WFI) favorite coaches misbehave with women and harass them. He also accused wrestling federation chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexually harassing girls and called him a ‘false sikka’ after his defeat at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
On the sidelines of a protest against the WFI near Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, Phogat said on Wednesday, “Coaches are harassing women and some coaches, who are beloved by the federation, misbehave with women coaches too. They sexually harass girls. The WFI president has sexually harassed many girls.” “
However, the WFI chief on Wednesday denied the allegations against him of sexually abusing wrestlers.
Denying allegations of sexual harassment of wrestlers, Singh said, “I have read that the name of the head coach has also been mentioned in allegations of sexual harassment. I have also read that that is the reason why the players’ camp is held in Lucknow. That they can be invited to my house. I have a house in Lucknow but I am there. Hardly live. My home is 120-130 km from Lucknow. All allegations of sexual harassment are false and I will kill myself if found. Be true. I tried to contact wrestlers including Bajrang Punia but couldn’t.”
Meanwhile, some wrestlers held a late-night meeting with Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur that extended into the wee hours today.
Later in the day, under pressure to resign over allegations of sexual exploitation of women wrestlers, WFI chairman Singh said he would “uncover” the “political conspiracy” at a press conference on Friday afternoon.
Singh, who is also the BJP Lok Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh’s Kaiserganj, said in a Facebook post that he would hold a press conference at the wrestling training center at Nawabganj in the state’s Gonda district.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
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