Top Indian Wrestlers Detained In Protest Demanding Arrest Of Federation Chief Accused Of Sexual Abuse


(MENAFN- Colombo Gazette)

Several of India's top wrestlers, including Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, were detained by Police on Sunday as they intensified their protest demanding the arrest of their federation chief over sexual harassment allegations.

The wrestlers originally hit the street in January demanding action against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has denied allegations of sexually harassing several female athletes.

The protest was withdrawn after Mr Singh, also a member of parliament from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, was stripped of all administrative powers by the sports ministry.

The wrestlers resumed their protest on April 23 demanding Mr Singh's arrest and have since been camping near the new parliament building which Mr Modi inaugurated on Sunday.

“They broke the barricades and didn't follow police directions,” senior Delhi Police officer Dependra Pathak told local media.

“They broke the law, and that's why they were detained.”

Malik, who won the women's 58 kg freestyle bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, shared photos and video of the wrestlers being dragged away by the police.

“This is how our champions are being treated,” he tweeted.

Malik and Punia have threatened to hand back their medals if no action is taken against the 66-year-old.

After their initial protest in January, Indian sports minister Anurag Singh Thakur asked the president of the federation to step aside and help in carrying out the probe.

He also said a committee would be set up to investigate the allegations and a report will be released in four weeks.

Mr Singh continues to head the federation and no report has been released in the months since.

He has denied the accusations and called the protests“politically motivated” by the opposition Congress party.

The women have said they will continue protesting until Mr Singh is arrested.

The protests have grown over the month, with many members of opposition parties and farmer unions taking up the wrestlers' cause.

Reuters/AP

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Colombo Gazette

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