Wrestlers protesting at Jantar Mantar against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and its president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said they will continue their sit in till they get justice.
Vinesh Phogat, the first Indian woman wrestler to win gold in both Commonwealth and Asian Games, told the media that the government should intervene and appoint former wrestlers for different roles in WFI.
The protesting wrestlers are seeking justice over their charges of sexual harassment of women wrestlers by the president and coaches of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and of mismanagement in the functioning of the federation.
Wrestlers staging the protest at Jantar Mantar met with the officials at the office of the Union Sports Ministry in Shashtri Bhawan on Thursday.
“If the sports minister gives us the time we will like to meet him and present our concerns to him. If we cannot do so, we will definitely take this up with our PM. The protest will continue until we get justice and we will not leave this place,” she said.
She said WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh “has a network of aides everywhere, so we can’t trust anyone”.
Phogat said FIR will be filed if appropriate action is not taken on their charges. “If action is not taken, FIR will be lodged by 5-6 girls,” she said.
“We want seniors who have represented India in the Olympics or the Asian Games to be office-bearers in WFI as they have knowledge of wrestling. We have confidence in the government. It should dissolve the WFI,” Phogat said.
The grappler stated they are missing their training due to protest.
“Unfortunately, we have not yet received any concrete solution or assurance regarding the presiding actions. We will ensure that the WFI president resigns…we want legal action,” she said.
Phogat said they have received support from wrestlers in other parts of the country.
“We are fighting to protect the self-respect of the wrestlers and the female wrestlers. Don’t want to take the names of the wrestlers who have gone through it as it’s important to protect their dignity as well. There are victims who can give an account of what they have been through,” she said.
“We don’t want to take the names of the government officials as we are not against the government, nor have a tussle with them. Some government officials and sports ministry representatives were there (during meeting) and asked us to express our concerns. We want assurances that action will be taken within a day or two. We can’t keep waiting for years for action to be taken.” (ANI)