A Mahapanchayat was held today at Sonipat in Haryana where Olympic medallist Sakshee Malikkh told the media that she will participate in the upcoming Asian Games only if the issues regarding Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Singh are resolved by the Indian government and judiciary.
Sakshee Malikkh and other world-champion wrestlers from India have been protesting against the WFI chief for sexual harassment and have recently demanded the union government five things to fulfil regarding this protest.
Today during the Mahapanchayat in Sonipat which was held to discuss the same topic of their protest, Malikkh told the media, "We will participate in Asian Games only when all these issues will be resolved. You can't understand what we're going through mentally each day."
The next Asian Games is this year in September which is supposed to be held in China. Indian wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat have been champions in the 2018 Asian Games and both of them have also been crucial participants in the protest in Delhi. Thus, their absence will be critical for India's chances of winning the tournament this year.
Bajrang Punia told the media that the discussion they had with the Union Minister Anurag Thakur when they made the five demands, the details of the talk will be discussed with the people attending the Mahapanchayat today. He reportedly said, "Whatever talks we had with the government, we will discuss that with the people who are supporting and standing with us."
According to the reports, Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Anurag Thakur has said that his talk with the protesting wrestlers was positive and discussions were made regarding their demands. He reportedly said, "It was a very positive discussion with the agitating wrestlers. All the issues that came from their side were discussed seriously. We have said that the chargesheet will be filed by June 15 and the Wrestling Federation of India's elections will be held by June 30. For the players, the Internal Complaint Committee will be formed and a woman player or an official will be made its chairperson."
Thakur also added, "We also want the players to return to the mat soon and participate in competitions ahead."
Delhi Police is currently investigating the probe against the WFI chief Brij Bhushan regarding the filed cases of sexual harassment. The wrestlers will resume their protests after five days of their meeting with Thakur if their demands are not met until then.