Why are wrestlers, including Olympic medalists, protesting at Jantar Mantar? | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Why are wrestlers, including Olympic medalists, protesting at Jantar Mantar?

Jan 18, 2023 07:07 PM IST

Olympic medalists Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, world championship medallists Vinesh Phogat, Sarita Mor, Sangeeta Phogat, Satyawart Malik and Jitender Kinha were among the 30 wrestlers assembled at the iconic Delhi location.

Top wrestlers from the country, including Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Bajrang Punia and 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medalist Vinesh Phogat, staged a four-hour-long dharna at Delhi's Jantar Mantar on Wednesday, in an unprecedented move against the alleged “dictatorship” of national federation president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat with wrestler Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and others react during a press conference regarding wrestlers' protest against the Wrestling Federation of India, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. (Raj K Raj/HT)
Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat with wrestler Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and others react during a press conference regarding wrestlers' protest against the Wrestling Federation of India, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. (Raj K Raj/HT)

The group of protesting wrestlers said that they will not accept the way Singh, who is also a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Uttar Pradesh's Kaiserganj, was running the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). The wrestlers clarified that the protest was not against the sports authority or the government, but solely against Singh's presidency of the WFI.

Now catch your favourite game on Crickit. Anytime Anywhere. Find out how

Read more | Vinesh Phogat accuses Wrestling Federation president of sexual harassment

Olympic medalists Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, world championship medallists Vinesh Phogat, Sarita Mor, Sangeeta Phogat, Satyawart Malik, Jitender Kinha and CWG medallist Sumit Malik were among the 30 wrestlers assembled at the iconic Delhi location.

“Our fight is not against the government or Sports Authority of India (SAI). This is against WFI. We will share details later in the day. Yeh ab aar paar ki ladai hai (This is a fight to the finish line),” Bajrang Punia said, as quoted by news agency PTI.

“The player wants self-respect and prepares for the Olympics and big games with full vigor, but if the federation does not support them, the morale breaks down. But now we will not bow down. Will fight for our rights,” Vinesh Phogat had tweeted earlier in the day.

What are the wrestlers demanding?

The primary and most important demand of the protesting wrestlers is that WFI president Brij Bhushan Singh should be removed from the top post. Singh has held the position since 2011 and was elected as the president for the third consecutive time in February 2019.

They have also demanded new coaches and physios for future training and asked for the training centre to be moved to Delhi. The wrestlers are currently in Lucknow.

The wrestlers have also demanded financial support. They have claimed that the funds often fail to reach them as WFI officials use it for personal benefits.

A case of sexual harassment

In a startling revelation, Olympic champion Vinesh Phogat has accused the WFI chief of sexual harassment.

"I know at least 10-12 women wrestlers who have told me about the sexual exploitation they faced at the hands of (the) WFI President. They told me their stories. I can't take their names now but I can definitely reveal the names if we get to meet the Prime Minister and the Home Minister of the country," Vinesh said addressing the media after the protest.

The BJP MP has denied the allegations, saying he will “hang himself” if it is proven to be true. “There has been no incident of sexual harassment. If such a thing has happened, then I will hang myself… I am ready for an investigation,” Singh said.

Phogat said that they will present all evidence when the high court will direct us. “We are also ready to submit all evidence to the PM.”

Get World Cup ready with Crickit! From live scores to match stats, catch all the action here. Explore now!

See more

Get Current Updates on India News, Budget 2024, Chandrababu Naidu CM Oath Ceremony Live, Weather Today along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, June 13, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On