Late on Thursday night time, sports activities minister Anurag Thakur met the wrestlers and warranted them that the difficulty might be resolved quickly.
Refusing to attend until Saturday night when the federal government’s deadline in search of rationalization from Singh and WFI office-bearers expires, the protesters, led by Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik and double World Championships medallist Vinesh Phogat, upped the ante on the second day of their peaceable sit-in by demanding not solely Singh’s resignation but in addition the disbanding of the WFI and all its affiliated state models.
The wrestlers’ confrontational strategy pressured Singh to name for an “extraordinary common physique assembly” of the WFI on Sunday in Ayodhya to debate the raging controversy. Hypothesis is rife that Singh will resign, nevertheless it gained’t be simple to politically sideline the BJP strongman in Uttar Pradesh with the following common elections due in early 2024.
Singh has been to the decrease home of the parliament six occasions in his profession and is a sitting BJP MP from Gonda’s Kaiserganj seat in UP. In response to political observers, he has affect in 17 districts of jap UP and had performed an important function in BJP’s unchallenged run throughout the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Singh left for Gonda early Thursday morning from his official 21 Ashoka Highway residence right here to attend a non-public operate and can stay stationed there till Sunday morning earlier than heading to Ayodhya. With the wrestlers protesting at Jantar Mantar, a heavy deployment of Delhi police personnel and paramilitary forces was seen outdoors his bungalow. The WFI workplace located inside his residence has additionally been locked quickly owing to safety causes.
On Thursday morning, round 200 wrestlers from the close by states of Haryana and UP – together with Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Ravi Dahiya and Birmingham CWG gold medallist Deepak Punia –joined the protest.
WFI chief sexual harassment: DCW points discover to sports activities ministry, Delhi Police
Later, three-time CWG medallist and BJP chief Babita Phogat – who can also be Vinesh’s cousin – arrived on the protest web site and warranted the grapplers that justice might be delivered to them. She took Bajrang, Vinesh, Sakshi, Anshu Malik and Satyawart Kadian to fulfill a sports activities ministry delegation comprising sports activities secretary Sujata Chaturvedi. SAI director common Sandip Pradhan and joint secretary (sports activities) Kunal.
After patiently listening to the wrestlers and their grievances and regardless of assuring them of motion towards Singh and WFI office-bearers, the grapplers refused to name off their protest. They held a press convention after the assembly, the place Vinesh talked in regards to the plan to file an FIR towards Singh over sexual harassment prices on Friday.
“We had one or two victims of harassment with us yesterday. However in the present day, we’ve five-six feminine wrestlers who’ve come ahead with their tales of sexual harassment. We gained’t title them for now. If want be, we might be pressured to reveal their identification and that can rely as a black day within the historical past of the nation the place goddess ‘Durga’ and ‘Lakshmi’ are worshipped. At the very least five-six women will lodge a number of FIRs on Friday,” Vinesh mentioned.
“It’s not nearly Singh’s resignation. Our struggle gained’t cease till we ship him to jail. We didn’t take the authorized route as a result of we had hoped for a decision. We’re Olympic and world medallists, so don’t suspect us. You (media) need to imagine us as a result of we’re telling the reality,” she mentioned.
Sakshi mentioned sexual abuse runs deep within the federation and nationwide camps, and the time had come for Singh and his males to be faraway from state-run sports activities our bodies. Nonetheless, one query which has remained unanswered after two days of protest: Why didn’t Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi take cognisance of the sexual harassment allegations levelled by the man wrestlers or lodge complaints on their behalf regardless of being a part of the federation’s sexual harassment committee within the current government council?
Sources within the ministry and SAI have additionally confirmed to TOI that not a single criticism of sexual harassment towards Singh “formally or unofficially” was ever obtained by their departments throughout his greater than a decade-long tenure because the WFI chief.
Wrestlers stage allegations towards WFI President; Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh stays defiant