Nowadays, there is only buzz about Olympic Wrestlers Protest. If you don’t know what are the wrestlers protest about, today we’ll discuss the whole story from start to end.
In January 2023, an Indian wrestlers protest began for an investigation into the allegations that BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh sexually harassed female wrestlers during his tenure as the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president.
Bajrang, Sakshi and Vinesh have been leading the protest by the wrestlers at Jantar Mantar in Delhi since April accusing the sidelined president of the WFI, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, of sexual harassment against many wrestlers, including a minor.
Now you know what is the wrestlers protest all about.
Let’s get into the dept and know the highlights of the Wrestlers Protest till now.
Here Are Highlights Of The Wrestlers Protest From Start To End:
- The protest started on 18 January 2023 when prominent Indian wrestlers like Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia accused WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexually harassing female wrestlers, including a minor.
- The female wrestler complainants accuse WFI Chief Brij Bhushan of groping, touching breasts and navels without consent, stalking, intimidation, and demanding “sexual favours” in exchange for professional help, all of which has led to a sense of fear and trauma among the women wrestlers.
- The wrestlers demanded the arrest of Bhushan, the release of the report by a government-appointed committee investigating the allegations, and the dissolution of the current executive committee of WFI.
- The sit-in protests were organized at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, making the sexual harassment allegations against Bhushan public. After assuring that the Central Government would form a committee to investigate the allegations.
- The protest was called off on 20 January 2023 after the sports ministry assured them that a committee headed by boxer MC Mary Kom would look into the matter and submit a report by 23 February 2023.
- The report was submitted on 5 April 2023 but has not been made public. The wrestlers alleged that the committee was biased and favoured the accused.
- The protest resumed on 23 April 2023 at Jantar Mantar, where the wrestlers staged a sit-in, a candlelight march and started their training sessions.
- WFI chief Brij Bhushan has denied all allegations put by the wrestlers in front of a government-appointed committee. He belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which leads the Central government and hence oversees the Delhi Police, the law enforcement agency in Delhi. Delhi Police had been accused of inaction and refusing to register an FIR.
- The protest received support from various opposition parties and organisations, who slammed the government for trying to protect Bhushan, a BJP MP.
- The Delhi Police booked the wrestlers for rioting and obstructing public servant in discharge of duty on 30 April 2023 after a scuffle with security personnel. The police also cleared off the protest site and denied permission for further protests at Jantar Mantar.
- The Supreme Court intervened on 4 May 2023 and directed the Delhi Police to register FIRs against Bhushan under the POCSO act and other relevant sections. The court also rejected the plea for a court-monitored probe.
- Many organisations and opposition parties have accused the government of trying to protect Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan, a member of the ruling party.
- The wrestlers decided to throw away their medals into the Ganga River on 30 May 2023 to protest against the inaction by authorities. They reached Haridwar but were stopped by farmer leader Naresh Tikait, who took their medals with him.
- The wrestlers gave the government an ultimatum of five days to arrest Bhushan and vowed to return if no action was taken. They also said they won’t immerse their medals till then.
- The United World Wrestling (UWW) expressed its disappointment over the lack of results of the investigations so far. They also said that it might suspend the WFI if its upcoming elections were not held on time.
- Latest News on Wrestlers Protest: The meeting was held on 3 June 2023 at Amit Shah’s residence in Delhi and continued till late that night, as the wrestlers raised their demand for Brij Bhushan’s arrest. But did not get the reaction they wanted from the Home Minister.
- The protests are still ongoing as of today (5 June 2023).
The wrestler protest is still ongoing, and the allegations are yet to be proven. The protest is a reflection of the power dynamics and politics in Indian sports federations and the need for more transparency and accountability in their functioning. A protest is a courageous act of resistance by wrestlers who risk their careers and reputations to demand justice and dignity for themselves and their fellow athletes. The protest is a test for the government and the judiciary to uphold the rule of law and protect the rights of the victims of sexual harassment.
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