United World Wrestling (UWW) issues statement on protest by Indian wrestlers; Read full text here
The wrestlers had been protesting at New Delhi's Jantar Mantar since April 23, demanding action against WFI chief Brij Bhushan.
International wrestling body United World Wrestling (UWW) issued a statement on Tuesday on the ongoing protest by Indian wrestlers who have been accusing their federation chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Singh of sexual harassment. The wrestlers had been protesting at New Delhi's Jantar Mantar, demanding action against Singh, who has denied any wrongdoing.
The situation at the protest site escalated on Sunday when the wrestlers intended to march towards the newly inaugurated Parliament. However, they were detained and subsequently the protest site was cleared. Star wrestlers Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, and Bajrang Punia are leading the protest against the BJP lawmaker.
On Tuesday, wrestlers took a drastic decision to immerse their medals in the River Ganga as a mark of protest against alleged inaction by authorities and the treatment meted out to them. Later, they postponed their action after farmer leader Naresh Tikait intervened and gave the government five days to act on the wrestlers' demands.
Read UWW's full statement here
"For several months, United World Wrestling has followed with great concern the situation in India where wrestlers are protesting over allegations of abuse and harassment by the President of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). It has taken due note that the WFI President has been put aside at an early stage and is currently not in charge.
The events of these last days are even more worrying that the wrestlers were arrested and temporarily detained by the police for initiating a march of protest. The site where they had been protesting for more than a month has also been cleared out by the authorities.
UWW firmly condemns the treatment and detention of the wrestlers. It expresses its disappointment over the lack of results of the investigations so far. UWW urges the relevant authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the allegations.
As it has already done since the beginning of this situation, UWW will hold a meeting with the wrestlers to inquire about their condition and safety and reconfirm our support for a fair and just resolution of their concerns.
Finally, UWW will request further information about the next elective general assembly from the IOA and the Ad-hoc Committee of the WFI. The 45-day deadline that was initially set to hold this elective assembly shall be respected. Failing to do so may lead UWW to suspend the federation, thereby forcing the athletes to compete under a neutral flag. It is reminded that UWW already took a measure in this situation by reallocating the Asian Championship planned in New Delhi earlier this year."
- Wrestlers Protest