Indian wrestlers, including world championship medallists Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, and Sakshi Malik, resumed their protest on Sunday over sexual harassment allegations against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The athletes demanded that the Indian government make public the findings of the oversight panel that investigated the allegations against the WFI chief. The panel had been established by Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur in January, after the wrestlers raised the issue. The oversight committee, headed by legendary boxer M C Mary Kom, had been tasked with looking into the allegations.
In response to the wrestlers' protests, the panel has issued a notice to the Delhi Police, seeking an action taken report by April 25. The commission has also asked the police to explain the reasons for the delay in registering the FIR against the WFI chief. Meanwhile, the wrestlers have moved to the Supreme Court, seeking the registration of an FIR against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The petition alleges that there has been an inordinate delay in registering the FIR, even after serious charges, including that of Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO), have been pressed against him.
The wrestlers first raised the issue in January this year, but ended their three-day long sit-in after marathon talks with Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur. However, the athletes claimed that they had not received justice, prompting them to resume their protests. The wrestlers have demanded that an FIR be lodged against Brij Bhushan, who has denied the allegations.
"It's been three months and we haven't got justice. That's why we are here again, to demand justice. We will sleep, eat here until we get justice," said Vinesh Phogat. Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik also vowed to continue the fight, stating, "We will not budge from Jantar Mantar."
The allegations against the WFI chief first surfaced in January this year, with the wrestlers accusing him of sexual harassment. In response to the allegations, Anurag Thakur had announced the establishment of the oversight committee. The wrestlers are now demanding that the government make public the findings of the committee, which has been investigating the allegations against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for the past three months.