Thakur meet successful: Wrestlers suspend protests till June 15, concur with polls before June 30

Following assurances from Union Sports minister Anurag Thakur, protesting wrestlers agreed to suspend their protest against wrestling federation chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh till June 15

| Updated: 07 June, 2023 9:55 pm IST
Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik held a six-hour meeting with Union Sports minister Anurag Thakur (TNI Photo By Sumit Kumar)

NEW DELHI: In a significant development, top wrestlers in the country have decided to suspend their ongoing protests until June 15 after a meeting held at the residence of Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur in the national capital on Wednesday.

The meeting came just days after the wrestlers had a discussion with Union Home minister Amit Shah regarding their demands.

Following their six-hour-long meeting with Thakur, Sakshi Malik, the first female wrestler to win an Olympic medal, said, “Although the Centre had requested time until June 15 for the completion of investigations, the wrestlers’ protest is not yet over.” “We have been asked to suspend our protest until the police complete their investigation by June 15,” she said.

ALSO READ: Brij Bhushan asked for favours from minor wrestler, FIR reveals

Echoing the sentiments, Olympic bronze medallist Bajrang Punia said, “We had a discussion on some issues. The police investigation should be completed by June 15, and the minister has requested that we not hold protests until then.”

“He also assured us that the security of female wrestlers would be taken care of. We have requested that all FIRs against wrestlers be withdrawn, and he has agreed to it,” Punia said.

ALSO READ: Brij Bhushan called me again, pulled my t shirt: Minor wrestler in FIR

Punia further emphasised that the government had assured them that the police investigation would be concluded before June 15. However, he added that if no action is taken by that date, the protest will continue.

Union Sports minister Thakur said, “I had a long 6-hour discussion with the wrestlers. We have assured wrestlers that the probe will be completed by June 15, and chargesheets will be submitted. The election of WFI will be done by June 30.”

Union Sports minister Anurag Thakur (TNI Photo by Sumit Kumar)

 

The meeting with Anurag Thakur followed the wrestlers’ meeting with Union Home minister Amit Shah, which took place on Saturday night.

During the meeting with Shah, which extended until midnight, the wrestlers emphasised their demand for the arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

ALSO READ: Will return our medals: Ace wrestlers after mid-night drama

Punia revealed that HM Shah informed them that the investigation was already underway. He also mentioned that the government had initially requested the wrestlers not to disclose their meeting with Shah, but the news eventually leaked to the media.

While wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, and Vinesh Phogat have resumed their duties in the Railways, they reiterated that the protest has not subsided and will continue. They also asserted that they would not hesitate to resign from their government jobs if necessary.

ALSO READ: Not one, Delhi Police register two FIRs against Brij Bhushan

Notably, Vinesh Phogat, another prominent figure in the protest, was unable to attend the meeting as she had prior commitments in her village, Balali, Haryana.

The wrestlers initiated their protest against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and the WFI on April 23 at Jantar Mantar, demanding the arrest of the WFI president, accusing him of sexual harassment and misconduct.

The Delhi Police registered two FIRs against Singh on April 28, which included allegations of demanding “sexual favours” in exchange for professional assistance, incidents of sexual harassment involving inappropriate touching and molestation, as well as instances of intimidation and stalking.

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