Amidst protests by top wrestlers of the country against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Singh, wrestler Bajrang Punia said that the ongoing protest is more important than the upcoming Asian Games.
“We want to play, it’s not as if we don’t want to go to the Asian Games,” he told a press conference, according to a report by the Indian Express. “But I believe that gaining justice for the daughters of this country is far more important than an Asian medal.”
The Asian Games are scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, China in September this year. But with the WFI suspended, the Indian Olympic Association-appointed ad-hoc committee, is yet to announce dates for the Asian Games trials.
WFI chief Brij Bhushan Singh who is facing sexual harassment charges by top female wrestlers, claimed that 90 per cent of the athletes and their guardians from Haryana trust the organisation, while only one wrestling family continues to protest at Delhi's Jantar Mantar.
"A few families & the girls who have levelled allegations belonged to the same 'akhada'...The patron of that 'akhada' is Deepender Hooda," he reportedly said.
Bajrang Punia accused Singh of politicising the issue. "He wants to give this struggle a political colour. The day those FIRs were filed against him, he activated his IT Cell to run a defamatory campaign against us. But justice cannot be served on the basis of his tweets. We trust the Supreme Court to deliver justice,” he said, according to a report by Hindustan Times.
A FIR has also been filed against the BJP MP. Meanwhile, the Delhi Police is reportedly extending support to the protesting wrestlers.
Political support has also poured in with Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi and AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal visiting the protest site to extend their solidarity. The Congress general secretary accused the government of "protecting" Singh, who has been involved in several other serious criminal cases according to his election affidavit and is considered a 'Bahubali' (muscle man) from Gonda and nearby districts of Uttar Pradesh.
(With inputs from PTI)