Union Sports Minister forms committee to investigate sexual harassment allegations in wrestling federation
Wrestling federation president responds to allegations with cryptic poem
Athletes including Neeraj Chopra and Kapil Dev show support for protesting women wrestlers
Shiv Sena MP expresses displeasure at lack of action against accused federation president
Women wrestlers continue to fight for justice and accountability in face of alleged sexual harassment
NEW DELHI: The issue of sexual harassment in Indian wrestling has been making headlines recently, with several female wrestlers coming forward to accuse the president of the Wrestling Federation of India, Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, of sexual harassment. The wrestlers have been protesting at Jantar Mantar in Delhi for several days, demanding justice and the arrest of Singh.
The issue has also garnered attention from prominent athletes, including Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra and former cricketer Kapil Dev.
However, Singh has responded to the allegations through a poem, expressing his desire for death rather than living a life of helplessness.
According to news agency PTI, WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh reacts to the sexual harassment charges against him.
VIDEO | WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh reacts to the sexual harassment charges against him. pic.twitter.com/HOdwVCWCIa— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) April 27, 2023
On January 18, 2023, wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, and Bajrang Punia reached Jantar Mantar in Delhi and made several serious allegations against Wrestling Federation President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Phogat, in tears, accused Singh and the coach of sexually harassing women wrestlers in the national camp.
Following this, Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur met with the players and formed a five-member inspection committee on January 23 to investigate the allegations. Veteran boxer MC Mary Kom was elected as the chairman of this committee. The committee was asked to complete the probe within four weeks, and they have submitted their report to the government, but it has not been made public.
The women wrestlers say that on April 21, they went to the Connaught Place police station to complain against Singh, but the police did not register an FIR. On April 23, under the leadership of Olympic medalist wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, and Vinesh Phogat, the wrestlers once again protested against Singh. This time, the protests have lasted for several days.
In response to the allegations against him, Singh has given a cryptic response through a poem. He said, “I am remembering a poem at this time. The day I will come down on the loss and gain of life, the day the struggles will be forged, the day the helplessness of life will show pity on me, On that day death will outnumber life. Friends, the day I will review my life, what I have lost, what I have gained, and the day I will feel that my ability to fight is over. The day I will feel that I am helpless, I would not like to live such a life and would like death to come closer to me before living such a life.”
Singh’s response has drawn criticism from many quarters, with people questioning his lack of remorse and accountability for the allegations against him.
The wrestlers protesting at Jantar Mantar have been receiving support from prominent athletes like Neeraj Chopra and Kapil Dev, who have expressed their solidarity with the wrestlers and called for justice.
In a tweet, Chopra wrote, “It saddens me to see our athlete’s demanding justice on the streets. They worked hard to represent our great country and have made us proud.” He added, “As a country, we are responsible for protecting the dignity of every person, be it an athlete or anyone else. What is happening should not have happened. This is a sensitive issue and it should be dealt with in a fair and transparent manner. The concerned authorities should act immediately to ensure justice.”
Kapil Dev also shared a picture of the wrestlers protesting at Jantar Mantar on his Instagram account and wrote, “Will they ever get justice?” He tagged Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia in his post.
Priyanka Chaturvedi, a Shiv Sena MP, has also expressed her displeasure at the lack of action taken against Singh. In a tweet, she wrote, “The image of the country is tarnished when MPs accused of sexual harassment get away while the victims have to fight for justice. Sorry ma’am, let us collectively forgive our women sportspersons.” Voice should be raised.”
Country’s image is tarnished when we have MPs accused of sexual harassment going scot free while the victims have to struggle for justice.— Priyanka Chaturvedi🇮🇳 (@priyankac19) April 28, 2023
Am sorry Ma’m we must collectively speak up for our sportswomen not accuse them of tarnishing image when they are the ones who won laurels… pic.twitter.com/Gp9mCA1ZVc
He wrote, “They (players) should not be accused of tarnishing the image. They are the ones who win respect for the country and make us proud.”
Despite the support and demands of justice by many prominent figures in the sports community, the women wrestlers are still fighting for justice and accountability for the alleged sexual harassment they faced. The case has brought to light the pervasive issue of sexual harassment in sports and the need for more stringent measures to protect athletes, particularly women, from such abuse.
The allegations of sexual harassment against Wrestling Federation of India President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh have sparked a nationwide controversy and protests by women wrestlers at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. The wrestlers, including Olympic medalists Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, and Sakshi Malik, have accused Brij Bhushan Singh and the coach of sexually harassing women wrestlers in the national camp. The case has raised questions about the safety and well-being of athletes, particularly women, and the need for more stringent measures to protect them from such abuse. The support and solidarity shown by prominent figures in the sports community are a positive step towards achieving justice and accountability for the alleged victims.