2014 Commonwealth Games gold medalist and BJP leader Babita Phogat on Thursday assured the wrestlers protesting at Jantar Mantar against the Wrestling Federation of India President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, that their issues will be resolved. “I have assured them that the government is with them. I will try that their issues are resolved today,” said Phogat while talking to media after meeting the wrestlers.
This, a day after Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik accused BJP MP and Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual harassment.
I have assured them that the government is with them. I will try that their issues are resolved today: Champion wrestler & BJP leader Babita Phogat at Jantar Mantar protest site in Delhi pic.twitter.com/By8aIvnhd9
— ANI (@ANI) January 19, 2023
Chhatrasal trainee and Tokyo Olympics silver medalist wrestler Ravi Dahiya also joined hundreds of wrestlers protesting against the Wrestling Federation of India at Jantar Mantar.
Father and coach of the Phogat sisters, Mahavir Singh Phogat was also present to join the wrestlers protesting. On Wednesday, Phogat had told The Indian Express, “Wo (Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh) hamesha ladkiyon ka camp Lucknow mey karwata hai, apne ghar ke qareeb (he always conducts the women’s camp in Lucknow, where he has a house)…..“Aaj saare bachhon ne bahaduri dikhayi hai (I am glad that all these kids have shown the courage to come out against his tyranny).”
“All of us wrestlers have come together to protest against the injustice of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). We are united in our protest and we will stay united and will not stop protests till we get justice,” Dahiya said.
Please join us in our fight for justice 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/y1R4pOl8nP
— Ravi Kumar Dahiya (@ravidahiya60) January 19, 2023
The hundreds of wrestlers present also included, Tokyo Olympic silver medalist and junior World medalist Deepak Punia and Anshu Malik joining the protests.
2022 Commonwealth Games and 2021 World Championships silver medalist Anshu Malik on Thursday conceded, “Women wrestlers are uncomfortable that the Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan stays in a room opposite to them at team hotel. When the girls return after competing they don’t go back to their room.”
देश के चैंपियन #Wrestlers को धरने पर बैठे 24 घंटे हो चुके हैं। जब ये खिलाड़ी मेडल जीतते हैं तो नेता लाईन लगाके इनके साथ फोटो खिंचाते हैं इनकी जीत का क्रेडिट लेते हैं। आज सब ग़ायब क्यों ?
खेल मंत्रालय से मेरे 5 सवाल – pic.twitter.com/AABeZawg6z
— Swati Maliwal (@SwatiJaiHind) January 19, 2023
Singh, however, denied all the allegations on Wednesday, saying if charges are proven true he can be hanged. “Is anyone saying that the WFI has sexually harassed a wrestler? Only Vinesh has said it. Has anyone come forward and said that they personally have been sexually harassed? Even if one wrestler comes forward and says that she has been sexually harassed, that day I can be hanged,” he said.
Taking note of the allegations against Singh, the sports ministry has sought an explanation from WFI and directed it to “furnish a reply within the next 72 hours on the allegations made.”
The ministry said, “if WFI fails to furnish the reply within the next 72 hours, the Ministry will proceed to initiate action against the federation in terms of the provisions of the National Sports Development Code, 2011.”