Government Open to Discussion with Protesting Wrestlers, says Sports Minister Anurag Thakur
June 07, 2023:
In a recent development, India's Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Thakur, has expressed the government's willingness to engage in a "discussion" with the protesting wrestlers. Thakur took to social media in the early hours of Wednesday to extend an invitation to the wrestlers for a dialogue on their concerns.
This announcement comes four days after a delegation of protesting wrestlers met with Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his official residence in the capital. The meeting, which lasted for over two hours and concluded past midnight, saw the participation of prominent wrestlers, including Olympic medalists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, along with several coaches. Bajrang Punia, when asked about the meeting, refrained from providing further comments.
The ongoing protest in the national capital involves some of the country's top wrestlers, who have been demanding the arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the chief of the Wrestling Federation of India, on allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct. The Delhi Police had registered two FIRs against Singh on April 28, which include accusations of demanding "sexual favors" in exchange for professional assistance, as well as instances of sexual harassment, inappropriate touching, molestation, and intimidation.
The investigation into these allegations has garnered support from various quarters. One Olympian, a Commonwealth gold medalist, an international referee, and a state-level coach have corroborated the accounts of at least three female wrestlers. The Delhi Police have recorded statements from approximately 125 potential witnesses across four states.
During the meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah, the wrestlers emphasized the need for a thorough investigation and the swift filing of a robust chargesheet. The Home Minister acknowledged the importance of following due process in the matter.