New Delhi [India] : Ace India wrestler Bajrang Punia said on Sunday that the reason why wrestlers are protesting once again is that nothing has been done so far to resolve their issues and the wrestlers are here to save wrestling.
Top Indian wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Ravi Dahiya, and Sakshi Malik, held a sit-in protest in Jantar Mantar in January this year, demanding that Brij Bhushan be removed from the head office and Wrestling Federation of India be disbanded. They had accused the body and its chief of sexual harassment and mistreatment of wrestlers. “We have just one issue. The reason for the protest is that nothing has been done so far…We are here to save wrestling. We will sit at 4 pm and talk,” said wrestler Bajrang Punia as he and several other wrestlers headed to Jantar Mantar.
“Yes, absolutely – at Connaught Place Police Station,” he says when asked if a police complaint has been filed.
The wrestlers had protested against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) in January this year.
Ace India wrestler and Olympic medalist Bajrang Punia said on Sunday that the wrestlers will be holding a press conference at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar and give details about the legal process in their dispute against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).
“We are going to do a press conference at 4 pm on Jantar Mantar, we have moved forward now through a legal process and will brief everything there,” Bajrang said.
Following the protest, in January, the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports announced the formation of an ‘oversight committee’ to probe allegations levelled against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and its chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and other coaches. The committee was given the task of submitting a report on the issue to the ministry.
Olympic medalist Mary Kom is heading the Oversight Committee. Former wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, former shuttler Trupti Murgunde, SAI member Radhica Sreeman, ex-CEO of the Target Olympic Podium Plan Rajesh Rajagopalan, and CWG gold medalist Babita Phogat are the other members of the Mary Kom-led committee.
But earlier in April, Punia had said that the wrestlers will go to court to protest against the report of the oversight committee appointed to investigate the matter and allegations put up by prominent Indian wrestlers against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and its president Brijbhushan Sharan Singh.
Speaking to ANI exclusively, Punia said, “I read an article in which one of the committee members said that the report has been submitted to the Sports ministry without his signatures. The member also expressed his/her disagreement with the report. If a committee member is not involved in report submission and disagrees with the report, how are we supposed to trust it?”
“We were not even informed that the report was submitted to the ministry,” he added.
Punia also said that WFI should make public the statements given by female wrestlers in a sting operation to a private TV channel if it feels it is innocent and also, people get to decide who is right or wrong.
The wrestler said that they (wrestlers) will start protesting once again and will even go to the high court as soon as possible.
“We have to carry on with our sport, but we will protest and go to the high court as soon as possible,” said Punia.