The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, has found himself embroiled in controversy as allegations of sexual harassment by female wrestlers have surfaced. In response, the wrestlers gathered in Haridwar and threatened to throw their hard-earned medals in the sacred Ganges River as a symbol of protest against Singh. This act of defiance raised questions about the integrity of the wrestling federation and its leadership. In a press conference, Singh addressed the allegations, the ongoing investigation, and the wrestlers’ decision to immerse their medals. This article delves into the details of Singh’s response and the unfolding events surrounding the wrestlers’ protest.
The Allegations and Investigation:
Singh acknowledged that he is currently facing allegations of sexual harassment by female wrestlers. He stated that the charges against him are being probed by the Delhi Police, and if there is any truth to the allegations, appropriate legal action will be taken. Singh emphasized that the matter is under investigation, and if the evidence substantiates the claims, he is willing to face the consequences. He urged the wrestlers and others with evidence to present it in court, stating that he would accept any punishment deemed necessary.
The Wrestlers’ Protest:
In a display of dissent, prominent wrestlers including Olympians Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, and Vinesh Phogat, arrived in Haridwar to immerse their medals in the holy Ganges River. This act aimed to symbolize their disillusionment with the wrestling federation and their solidarity with the victims of alleged sexual harassment. The wrestlers expressed their frustration with the system, claiming that their demands for justice were being ignored, and they were being treated as criminals. They stated that the medals, which they had earned through years of hard work, had lost their meaning in light of the prevailing circumstances.
Brij Bhushan Singh’s Response:
Singh responded to the wrestlers’ protest by asserting that the decision to immerse the medals was purely the wrestlers’ choice. He characterized their actions as an emotional display and questioned its efficacy in bringing about the justice they sought. Singh pointed out that the Delhi Police were already investigating the allegations, and he would face legal consequences if found guilty. He emphasized the importance of evidence and urged the wrestlers to present their case in court, reiterating his willingness to accept any punishment deemed appropriate by the judicial system.
Singh criticized the wrestlers for their four-month-long demand for his hanging, stating that the government had not taken such action. He labeled their threats to immerse their medals in the Ganga as emotional drama, arguing that it would not lead to the outcome they desired. Singh reiterated the need for evidence and stressed that the wrestlers should approach the court for justice rather than resorting to symbolic gestures. He maintained that if the court found him guilty based on substantiated evidence, he would accept the consequences.
Support from Farmer Leader Naresh Tikait:
Notably, farmer leader Naresh Tikait intervened in the situation, persuading the wrestlers not to immerse their medals in the Ganges. He lent his support to their protest against Singh and called for a Maha Panchayat (large gathering) in Muzaffarnagar to discuss the issue. Tikait’s involvement highlighted the broader support and recognition the wrestlers’ cause had garnered.
Delhi Police Investigation and Status Report:
In the midst of the controversy, the Delhi Police announced that the sexual harassment case against Singh was still under consideration. Contrary to earlier reports suggesting insufficient evidence, the police clarified that the investigation was ongoing and that the status report would be submitted to the court. This clarification aimed to dispel
any misinformation and emphasize the sensitivity of the case.
The allegations of sexual harassment against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh have sparked a heated controversy within the wrestling community. The wrestlers’ decision to protest by threatening to immerse their medals in the Ganges River has drawn attention to the issue and intensified the debate surrounding the leadership of the Wrestling Federation of India. Singh’s response, acknowledging the ongoing investigation and expressing his readiness to accept any legal consequences, sheds light on his position. As the investigation progresses, it remains to be seen how the allegations will be substantiated and what actions will be taken to ensure justice.
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