Protesting wrestlers hold candlelight march demanding arrest of Brij Bhushan | More sports News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: Thousands of protesters, led by India’s top female wrestlers, gathered in the capital city on Tuesday to demand the resignation and arrest of the president of the wrestling federation. The president, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, has been accused of sexually harassing young athletes, including a minor.
Carrying the national flag, the protesters marched to India Gate, near the parliament building, with a strong police presence accompanying them.

The protests have been ongoing for nearly a month, despite a severe heat wave, and the wrestlers have put their training schedules on hold. Notably, two Olympic medalists, Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, have joined the protests and threatened to return their medals if no action is taken against Singh.
The movement has gained support from opposition parties and farmer unions, with many people voicing their concerns about the alleged sexual harassment. The majority of Indian wrestlers hail from the northern agricultural states of Haryana and Punjab.
Singh, a 66-year-old lawmaker representing the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, has denied the accusations, labelling the protests as politically motivated by the opposition Congress party.

Vinesh Phogat, a renowned wrestler who has won medals at various international competitions, had previously spoken out about coaches exploiting female wrestlers under the supervision of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president.
The allegations of sexual harassment against Singh are currently under investigation by the Indian police, and he has been questioned in connection with the case. The Supreme Court of India has acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations, but there has been silence from the ruling party leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Earlier this year, the Sports Minister requested Singh to step aside and assist in the investigation, promising the formation of a committee to probe the matter and release a report within four weeks. However, Singh continues to lead the federation, and no report has been published since then. In April, the women wrestlers resumed their protests, vowing not to end them until Singh is arrested.
The case has once again brought attention to India’s #MeToo movement, which gained momentum in 2018 when numerous actresses and writers came forward on social media with allegations of sexual harassment and assault. The ongoing protests highlight the need for justice and accountability in cases of harassment within sports organisations.
(With inputs from AP)

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