Indian Olympic Association chief PT Usha has called out the wrestlers’ protest over the alleged sexual harassment by Wrestling Federation India boss Brijbhushan Sharan Singh. The BJP MP has repudiated all allegations and expressed that he will fight fiercely to prove he is innocent.
Wrestlers like Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia have been front and centre in the protests against Brijbhushan Sharan Singh. These wrestlers have further demanded the government take action on their complaint. They have also written to Usha to act on the matter urgently.
Addressing the protests, Usha said, “The players should not have protested on the streets. They should have at least waited for the report of the committee. What they have done is not good for the game and the country. It is a negative approach."
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur addressed the protest and expressed that the board has formed a committee to look into the allegations against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and its chief Mr Singh. The committee was asked to present a report to the Youth Affairs and Sports Ministry by April 5 but has not yet made its findings public.
"The Narendra Modi government has done excellent work for sportspersons in the country. The government spends a lot to help sportspersons. Some 3,000 players get ₹ 5 lakh on their boarding, lodging and training. They also get ₹ 1.20 lakh for personal expenses," Thakur said to the press.
"Some wrestlers were sitting at Jantar Mantar (in Delhi). Who spoke to them? I left all my programmes in Himachal Pradesh and heard them for 12 hours. Seven hours one day, over five hours the next day. We did a press conference late at night. We made a committee... The Narendra Modi government is very clear about standing with the players and helping them. For us, the priorities are the sports and the players. We won't compromise with them," Mr Thakur further added.