Indian wrestlers conduct a candlelight protest calling for the arrest of a sports official for sexual misconduct
Indian wrestlers conduct a candlelight protest calling for the arrest of a sports official for sexual misconduct

New Delhi: Leading a march by candlelight with nearly 1,000 protesters in the nation's capital on Tuesday, India's top female wrestlers demanded the resignation and detention of the wrestling federation's president for allegedly sexually harassing young athletes, one of whom was a minor.

They marched to India Gate, a monument close to the nation's parliament building, carrying the national flag of India. They marched with a sizable police presence behind them.

Despite a brutal heat wave and skipping their training sessions, the protesters have been holding a demonstration in the heart of New Delhi for nearly a month. Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, two Olympic medalists, are taking part in the protests and have threatened to return their awards if Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the president of the Wrestling Federation of India, is not held accountable.

Also Read: PM Modi Latest Updates: Modi invites Albanese to India for Cricket WC 2023

Due to the increased support for the wrestlers' cause from opposition parties and farmer unions, the protests have gained momentum. Punjab and Haryana, two northern agricultural states, are home to the majority of India's wrestlers.

They charged Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker Singh, 66, of harassing seven young female wrestlers. Singh represents the ruling Hindu nationalist party.

Singh has refuted the charges and referred to the protests as being "politically motivated" by the rival Congress party.
The WFI president, according to wrestler Vinesh Phogat, who has medals from the world championships, the Commonwealth Games, and the Asian Games, ordered several coaches to abuse female wrestlers.

 Also Read: We adapted to the times, but never gave up on our values and roots: PM Modi to Indians in Sydney

Singh has been questioned by Indian police who are looking into the allegations of sexual harassment against him. The case involves "serious allegations of sexual harassment," according to the Indian Supreme Court, but the leaders of the ruling party, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have remained silent.

Following their initial protest in January, Indian Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur requested the federation's president step aside and assist with the investigation. He added that a committee would be formed to look into the claims, and that a report would be made public in four weeks.

Since then, no report has been made public, and Singh still serves as the federation's president. In April, the women went back to their protest site and declared they wouldn't leave until Singh was taken into custody.

Also Read: India poised to be at the forefront of digital innovation and more: US Ambassador

The wheels of justice have been turning so slowly that our fight for justice seems to have gone on forever, Phogat wrote in The Indian Express on Tuesday.
The incident has brought attention to the #MeToo movement in India once more. This movement gained momentum in 2018 after a number of actors and writers made numerous accusations of sexual harassment and assault on social media.


Join NewsTrack Whatsapp group
Related News