Sports

National Congress Party Demands Resignation Of WFI Chief Who Faces Sexual Exploitation Allegations

Top wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and many other grapplers are on a silent sit-in in New Delhi for the second day against WFI and its chief Singh.

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India wrestlers protest against WFI at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.
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The Nationalist Congress Party on Thursday demanded the resignation of Wresting Federation of India president and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has been accused of sexually exploiting women wrestlers for years, a charge vehemently rejected by the sports administrator. (More Sports News)

Top wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and many other grapplers are on a silent sit-in in New Delhi for the second day against WFI and its chief Singh.

“Women wrestlers who have won laurels for our country are protesting at Jantar Mantar in Delhi to seek justice for themselves for all the wrongdoings meted against them by the Wrestling Federation of India,” Clyde Crasto, NCP’s national spokesperson, said in a statement.

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Though the sports ministry has asked WFI to respond to the wrestlers on the allegations levelled by them, it is not enough, said Crasto. 

“The President of the Wrestling Federation of India, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh should also step down, pending enquiry because if he stays and continues in that position, there are chances that he could influence this enquiry,” he said.

Phogat on Wednesday alleged that several coaches at the national camp in Lucknow have also exploited women wrestlers, adding that there are a few women at the camp who approached the wrestlers at the behest of the WFI president. The 28-year-old, however, clarified that she never faced such harassment but claimed that “one victim” was present at their “dharna” at Jantar Mantar.

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“Youth Affairs and Sports minister Anurag Thakur must meet these wrestlers at Jantar Mantar, understand their problems, and take necessary steps to solve it,” said the statement by Crasto.

“If the government does not take immediate action, it will raise doubts because the person these wrestlers are naming is a member of the BJP,” he said.

The NCP spokesperson said the wrestlers have won medals and brought glory to the country. “These are the same ministers and officials who go to receive them, take photo opportunities and bask in their glory,” he said.

While Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia have won Olympic medals, Phogat is a world championship medallist.

If the government takes the matter lightly, it will appear that it is trying to protect the BJP MP, Crasto said

Earlier in the day, the Congress demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi break his “silence” over the allegations against Singh, and sought to know why resignations of those involved have not come in till now.

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