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As #MeToo Protest Intensifies, Wrestlers-Government Meeting: 10 Points

First Published: 19th January, 2023 19:27 IST

Wrestlers said that their movement will continue as they were not satisfied after talks with the Sports Ministry of India

Wrestlers who staged a protest in New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar yesterday over sexual harassment allegations against the chief of the Wrestling Federation of India Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, said that they were not satisfied after talks with the Sports Ministry of India and their movement will continue.

Here are the 10 latest developments in this story:

  1. “We have not got a satisfactory reply; only assurances, no concrete action so far. We will not leave till federation chief is removed and he goes to jail. We have 5-6 girls with proof. If government does not act, we will go to the police,” said Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia.
  2. At a public protest in Jantar Mantar, Vinesh Phogat with the support of several other wrestlers levelled the allegations against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and his trainers. “Coaches and the WFI president have sexually assaulted female wrestlers during national camps. I’ve heard from at least 10 to 20 girls in the national camp who I know about “She said while crying.
  3. Phogat added that while she herself had never experienced such mistreatment, many wrestlers were intimidated from coming forward because of their humble origins.
  4. Sakshi Malik, a fellow wrestler and Olympic bronze medallist who took part in the protest, supported the allegations .”Athletes work hard to win medals for the country, but the federation has done nothing but let us down,” she tweeted.
  5. However, Singh refuted the allegations and said that he will commit suicide if the allegations against him are found to be true. “All the sexual harassment allegations are false, and I will commit suicide if they are found to be true. I tried to get in touch with the wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia, but was unable to do so,” Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh was quoted as saying by ANI.
  6. Bajrang Punia also joined the protest and accused Singh of running the federation in a high-handed manner. “The job of the federation is to support the players, and take care of their sporting needs. If there is a problem, it has to be solved,” he tweeted.
  7. Sports Ministry of India on Wednesday asked the Wrestling Federation of India to respond to the allegations within 72 hours after triple Commonwealth Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat went public with the charges.
  8. Meanwhile, the Delhi Commission for Women, a local body that looks after women’s issues gave a notice to the Sports Ministry of India to file a case.
  9. The allegations come months after the national cycling team’s coach was fired over sexual harassment allegations.
  10. After a Bollywood actress accused a senior actor of sexual harassment, the #MeToo movement in India gained momentum in 2018. Soon after, women from various backgrounds came out with other accusations, including those targeted against a former government minister, but activists say there has been little fundamental change.

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