Sexual harassment of wrestlers: Union Sports ministry seeks explanation from Wrestling Federation of India

Ministry sprung into action after some of India’s top female wrestlers alleges sexual harassment by WFI president Brij Bhushan Saran Singh

NEW DELHI | Updated: 19 January, 2023 9:48 am IST
India's top wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, raise their voice against exploitation by WFI

A day after some of India’s top wrestlers sat on a dharna at Jantar Mantar against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), the central government took cognisance of the matter and sought an explanation from the WFI within 72 hours.

The top wrestlers like Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik had accused BJP MP and WFI president Brij Bhushan Saran Singh of sexual harassment as well.

A defiant Bhushan, who is known to run the federation with strong-arm tactics, however, refuted all the charges, stating that a small group of players and a lobby were working against him. He also alleges that there is a conspiracy against him.

A concerned Sports Ministry has sought an explanation from WFI and directed it to furnish a reply within the next 72 hours on the allegations made.

In its communication to WFI, the Ministry stated that “since the matter pertains to the well-being of athletes, the Ministry has taken a very serious view of the matter.”

The Ministry has further stated that if WFI fails to furnish the reply within the next 72 hours, the Ministry will proceed to initiate action against the federation in terms of the provisions of the National Sports Development Code, 2011.

Further, the Women’s National Wrestling Coaching Camp, which was due to start in Sports Authority of India’s National Centre of Excellence (NCOE) in Lucknow on January 18 with 41 wrestlers and 13 coaches and support staff, has been cancelled.

The Executive Director of NCOE Lucknow has been directed to provide all facilities to national campers who have already reported or are likely to report, until the campers depart from the centre. All necessary information regarding the cancellation of the National Coaching Camp has also been sent to all campers.

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