Indian wrestling: sports ministry, Olympic Association to investigate sexual harassment allegations against top official

New Delhi

India’s sports activities ministry stated Friday it might examine allegations of sexual harassment towards the president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

Sports activities Minister Anurag Thakur introduced the forming of an oversight committee to look into the claims following a gathering with a number of main wrestlers demanding an inquiry.

The wrestlers have been protesting for the previous three days within the Indian capital of New Delhi and have known as for the dismissal of WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and the dissolution of the WFI.

The WFI has denied all of the allegations.

Olympic wrestler Vinesh Phogat and 4 others have stated they’re talking on behalf of the accusers to guard their identification and haven’t publicly launched particulars in regards to the younger wrestlers’ accusations.

Sports activities Minister Thakur stated in a joint press convention alongside the wrestlers within the capital New Delhi that the “critical allegations, be it expenses of economic irregularities or expenses of sexual harassment, will likely be probed.”

“The committee will see all of the day-to-day workings until the investigation completes, and until then Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh will step apart and cooperate with the investigation,” the minister added.

Thakur’s announcement got here after a second spherical of talks between the minister and wrestlers.

The committee has 4 weeks to finish the inquiry, Thakur stated.

He added that the names for the oversight committee could be introduced Saturday.

Welcoming the announcement, Olympic wrestler Bajrang Punia, who attended the assembly, stated, “The union sports activities minister listened to our calls for and has assured us {that a} correct investigation will likely be achieved. I thank him and we’re hopeful {that a} honest probe will likely be achieved, therefore we’re calling off the protest.”

In the meantime, the Indian Olympic Affiliation (IOA) will even arrange a seven-member panel to research the allegations towards Singh, in response to CNN affiliate CNN Information 18.

“We are going to guarantee a whole investigation to make sure justice,” IOA president PT Usha tweeted Friday, urging athletes to return ahead and voice their considerations.

Top India wrestlers led a sit-in protest near the parliament building on Thursday.

A number of Indian wrestlers had written to the IOA, demanding the formation of an inquiry committee to research the allegations.

In a letter addressed to the president of the IOA and shared on Twitter, 5 wrestlers say “a number of younger wrestlers” have raised critical complaints of “sexual harassment” towards the WFI president.

CNN reached out to the WFI for remark and Vinod Tomar, the federation’s assistant secretary, denied all of the accusations.

“An inquiry is happening,” Tomar added. “These are allegations solely and are but to be proved.”

CNN additionally reached out to WFI President Singh and his workplace declined to remark on the time.

Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat with Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia during a protest against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on January 20, 2023 in New Delhi.

On Friday, the WFI chief had scheduled a press convention, however he didn’t flip up. As a substitute, his son Pratik Bhushan Singh instructed reporters, “We’ve given our official assertion to (the) sports activities ministry.”

The WFI chief has additionally postponed “till additional discover” a press convention that was scheduled for Sunday.

Within the letter to the IOA, Phogat and her fellow wrestlers stated “it has taken a variety of braveness for the wrestlers to return collectively” and file their complaints towards Singh, who’s a member of the Indian Parliament with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Get together.

“We concern for our lives,” they added.

Phogat, the primary feminine Indian wrestler to win gold on the Commonwealth Video games and Asian Video games, tweeted Wednesday, “The gamers need self-respect,” including that “if the federation doesn’t help them, the morale breaks down.”

In a statement on Twitter, politician Babita Kumari Phogat, a former feminine wrestler and three-time Commonwealth Video games medalist, stated she stands along with her fellow wrestlers.

“I’m with my gamers on this battle. I’ve full religion within the authorities that it’s going to do justice to the sportspersons of the nation who elevate the nation’s honor on the planet,” she stated.

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