New Delhi: The Chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Swati Maliwal on Wednesday sent a notice regarding the matter to the Delhi police and the Union Sports ministry on Wednesday, shortly after Olympians and star wrestlers Sakshee Malikkh, Vinesh Phogat, and Bajrang Punia made sensational claims against officials and coaches of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). 

These claims alleged that WFI officials and coaches were harassing the wrestlers.

Maliwal made it to Jantar Mantar, where Olympian wrestlers are leading a sit-in protest.

In an earlier interview on Wednesday, Vinesh Phogat made the claim to members of the media that coaches, who are the WFI’s favorites, misbehave with women and harass them.

The DCW chief said it was sad and unfortunate that star wrestlers, who had won medals for their nation at the Olympics and other prestigious competitions, were today on the streets protesting the Federation.

“Olympian wrestlers Sakshee Malikkh, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia, who have brought laurels to the country, are forced to protest today. They say the Wrestling Federation of India’s (WFI) President and coaches sexually exploit the players. Issuing a notice to the Sports Ministry and the Police to investigate the matter,” tweeted Swati Maliwal. 

In light of the harassment allegations leveled against him, she demanded that an FIR be filed against the WFI President and that he be detained.

“Justice should be served swiftly in this case. The WFI president should be arrested and stern action taken against the coaches whose names have come up in the matter,” the DCW chief told mediapersons.

On the sidelines of the sit-in protest near Jantar Mantar, Phogat said, “Coaches are harassing women and some coaches, who are favourites of the Federation, misbehave with women coaches as well. They sexually harass girls. The WFI president has sexually harassed many girls.” 

“After my defeat in the Tokyo Olympics, the WFI president called me a ‘khota sikka’. The Federation mentally tortured me. I would entertain thoughts of ending my life every day. If anything happens to any wrestler, the WFI president will be to blame,” she added. 

The protesting wrestlers also said that the WFI took advantage of them and interfered with their personal lives.

Wrestlers Stage Protest Against WFI President

The nation’s top wrestlers, including Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Bajrang Punia and world championship medalist Vinesh Phogat, staged a protest against the “dictatorship” of the national federation President on Wednesday.

Although the wrestlers did not specify the specifics of their complaints or demands, it was evident that they are dissatisfied with the manner in which Singh, who is also a Kaiserganj-based BJP MP, runs the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

There are 30 wrestlers gathered at Jantar Mantar, including Bajrang, Vinesh, Rio Olympics medalist Sakshi Malik, world championship medalist Sarita Mor, Sangeeta Phogat, Satyawart Malik, Jitender Kinha, and CWG medalist Sumit Malik.

“Our fight is not against the government or Sports Authority of India (SAI). This is against WFI. We will share details later in the day. ‘Yeh ab aar paar ki ladai hai’ (It’s a fight to the finish),” Bajrang Punia told PTI.

The protest has also been joined by Bajrang’s support staff, including his physiotherapist Anand Dubey and coach Sujeet Mann.

Another wrestler stated, “The dictatorship will not be tolerated.”

Since 2011, Singh has been in charge. In February 2019, he won the presidency of WFI for the third time in a row.

“The players make every effort to win medals for the country but the federation has not done anything except downgrading us. Arbitrary rules are being framed to torture the athletes,” tweeted Sakshi.

Along the same lines, wrestlers Anshu Malik, Sangeeta Phogat, and others tweeted using the hashtag “BoycottWFIPresident” and tagging the PMO, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Home Minister Amit Shah. 

‘I Will Hang Myself If…’: WFI President Denies Sexual Harassment Accusations

Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on Wednesday denied the allegations of sexual exploitation leveled against him by senior wrestlers, reported news agency ANI. “There has been no incident of sexual harassment. If such a thing has happened, then I will hang myself,” he said. 

“I want to ask Vinesh Phogat, why did she wear a costume with a company’s logo on it in the Olympics? After she lost the match, I only encouraged & motivated her,” he added.

WFI President also said Wrestlers who are sitting in protest have not contested any national tournament after the Olympics.

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