• Tuesday, February 07, 2023

HEADLINE STORY

Sexual harassment row: Indian wrestlers body says protesters, who include Olympic medallists, have hidden agenda

Indian wrestlers Vinesh Phogat (L) and Sakshi Malik (2R) along with others wrestlers take part in an ongoing protest against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), in New Delhi on January 19, 2023, following allegations of sexual harassment to athletes by members of the WFI. (Photo by SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

With the sexual harassment allegation against the chief of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) snowballing, the body on Saturday (21) counter accused the athletes who have brought the charges, saying they have hidden agenda.

In a letter to the country’s ministry of youth affairs, the wrestling body said, “The protest is not in the best interest of the wrestlers nor for the promoting good Wrestling in India, but it has some personal as well as hidden agenda to dislodge the current fairest and strict management of WFI and also by conspiracy to create such adverse atmosphere in public to create undue pressure.

Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Ravi Dahiya, and Deepak Punia, many of whom have won medals on world stage including the Olympics, are among the athletes who were protesting at Jantar Mantar in Delhi for the last three days.

The wrestlers brought charges of sexual harassment of women athletes by the WFI president, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, and its coaches and allegation of mismanagement in the federation’s working.

They demanded a complete overhaul of the body.

Responding to the charges of mismanagement, the WFI said that it has always acted keeping in mind the wrestlers’ best interests.

“The WFI is managed by an elected body as per its constitution, and therefore, there is no scope for arbitrariness and mismanagement in WFI by any one individually, including the president,” it said.

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