Desh Ki Baat

Wrestlers Protest: Are wrestlers tricked by the WFI?

The wrestlers protest was called off based on the assurance that their grievances will be heard. Here is what we found in our ground report.


New Delhi: Jantar Mantar, a historical building originally meant to observe the movement of planets, sun, moon and stars, is also famous for one more thing, protests. A few metres away, there is a ground used by the public for protesting against anything. From Anna Hazare to Nirbhaya Rape Case, this place has seen it all. The latest protest that broke out at the Jantar Mantar site is the Wrestlers’ Protest.

Allegations against BJP MLA Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh

India’s top wrestlers were protesting against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Vinesh Phogat, the first Indian woman wrestler to win gold in both Commonwealth and Asian Games and Sakshi Malik, the first Indian female wrestler to win a medal at the Olympics have accused BJP MP and WFI president Brij Bhushan of sexual harassment. They said that female wrestlers have been harassed for several years now. Vinesh Phogat even claimed to have received ‘death threats.’

“Several coaches harass women wrestlers and behave inappropriately with women coaches. Some interact with female wrestlers and even act as a mediator to get them harassed. The chief of WFI has himself harassed many”, said the Commonwealth Athlete Vinesh Phogat.

Since then, several wrestlers including Ravi Kumar Dahiya, Bajrang Punia, and Mahavir Singh Phogat, the father and coach of the Phogat sisters, joined the protesters’ ring at Jantar Mantar, Delhi. Some are calling these allegations fabricated while some are politically motivated.

Dark reality behind sports world

Amidst this, several stories of insensitivity, harassment, and poor facilities in sports are being circulated. For now, after six hours long deliberations between Sports Minister Anurag Thakur and the wrestlers, including Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, Ravi Dahiya, and Bajrang Punia, a three-day-long silent protest has come to an end.

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The wrestlers had dug in their heels, demanding the immediate removal of WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and the disbanding of the sports body because of sexual harassment allegations and other “gross irregularities” in the functioning of the federation.

The recent developments

However, as per the recent developments, The WFI rejected all the allegations, including that of Sexual harassment by Bhushan. It said, “There is no scope for arbitrariness and mismanagement in the sports body.”

“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 anyone individually, including the president”, the WFI said in its response to the sports ministry.

The Sports Ministry had directed the WFI to respond to the allegations within 72 hours.

The condition of sports infrastructure in the country is not new to us. Several films and many athletes from time to time have brought to the surface the pitiable condition of sports in India.

They even slammed the hypocrisy of politicians and sports federations who are ready to take credit for the rigorous practice of a sports personality whenever they bring home a medal. They even load them with cash prizes; rewards and recognition for making them tweet in their favour but never support them financially or with proper training equipment. Moreover, these serious allegations against the management will not leave a good mark on Indian Sports teams at international events.

Are wrestlers tricked by WFI? Will Brij Bhushan Singh continue to be WFI Chief? These developments will mould the future of sports in India.

The WFI emergency general council meeting, scheduled in Ayodhya on Sunday, was called off after the ministry directed it to suspend all ongoing activities owing to the various allegations against the sports body and its president.

The ministry had on Saturday also suspended WFI’s assistant secretary Vinod Tomar, the fallout of the grapplers’ allegations of sexual harassment and corruption against the sports body’s chief. It had decided to suspend Tomar, “with immediate effect, to ensure the proper functioning of WFI ”.

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Ayushi Mittal

In her journey to become a journalist, Ayushi can inculcate your tale through her news writings. You may find her with a mike in protests, rallies, or in museums. So what's your story?
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