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WFI vs Wrestlers' Protest: Mahavir Phogat threatens to return medals, Sourav Ganguly refuses to comment

Published at :May 6, 2023 at 9:19 PM
Modified at :May 6, 2023 at 9:20 PM
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Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur has requested the protestors to have some faith in the judicial system.

Wrestlers continue to protest at the Jantar Mantar site in Delhi demanding justice against the alleged sexual harassment by Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The wrestlers' protest, which started in January, resumed on April 23rd after the wrestlers returned alleging they have been wronged.

Since then, the matter has only worsened and escalated on May 3rd when a scuffle broke out past midnight between the protesting wrestlers and Delhi Police on the protest site. The wrestlers alleged that a drunken policeman misbehaved, abused, and manhandled female wrestlers, including Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat, when they were helping with offloading folding beds from a truck. A wrestler was also reportedly hurt in the brawl and had to be taken to a hospital.

The police, however, denied any wrongdoing on their part and accused the wrestlers of getting aggressive after they were stopped from offloading the beds since there was no permission for it.

Here is what transpired in the WFI vs Wrestlers' Protest on May 5 (Friday).

Also Read: WFI vs Wrestlers’ Protest: SC rejects plea; Bajrang, Vinesh threaten to return medals

Wrestlers form committees to decide next course of action

Bajrang Punia revealed that the wrestlers' protest has two new committees to advise them on the legal proceedings against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). The two committees are the need of the hour if we are to believe the protesting wrestlers after the Supreme Court rejected their pleas on Thursday.

Punia also explained what the two committees look like. He revealed that one is a 31-member committee while the other is a nine-member one. The former consists of members from Khap Panchayat, women's and farmers' organisations. While the wrestlers' protest will continue to have faith in the jurisdiction, they have also requested the Sports Ministry to come to the side of the truth. 

"Vinesh is discussing it with the legal team. We will inform tomorrow. Today we made two committees -- one is a 31-member committee, and the second is a nine-member one. Khap panchayat, farmers and women organisations are there in the 31-member committee. The nine-member committee will decide on the wrestling part," Bajrang Punia was quoted as saying by PTI.

"I request the sports minister to come and stand on the side of truth," the Tokyo Olympics medalist added.

Anurag Thakur requests faith in system

Anurag Thakur tokyo olympics

Sports Minister Anurag Thakur has requested the wrestlers' protest to have faith in the law after the FIRs were registered. He also assured the protestors that strict actions would be taken as per the law.

"It is my request to all the sportspersons who are agitating there that whatever their demands were, they were met. Court has also given its directions, and they should let an unbiased probe to complete." Anurag Thakur said in Lucknow on the sidelines of a Khelo India event.

"Delhi police will do doodh ka doodh pani ka pani and take strict action as per law," he added.

Mahavir Phogat threatens to return medals

After the wrestlers, the face of the wrestlers' protest, Mahavir Phogat, threatened to return his awards and medals. Phogat is the uncle of Vinesh Phogat and the father of Geeta and Babita Phogat, and a Dronacharya award recipient.

Given the seriousness of the allegations, Mahavir Phogat wants WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh to be brought to justice as soon as possible. Phogat, who is a BJP member, also revealed that no talks have been held at the party level on the issues.

"I will return my medals if justice is not delivered in the case," Phogat said. "The kind of allegations he (WFI chief) faces, action should be taken against him and he should be arrested," he added.

Sourav Ganguly refuses to comment on wrestlers' protest

Sourav Ganguly

Former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly has refused to comment on the issue when asked given his lack of complete knowledge about it.

"Let them fight their battle. That's what it is. I really do not know what's happening there. I obviously read in the newspapers, and I realise one thing in the sports world that you don't talk about things that you don't have complete knowledge about," Ganguly was quoted as saying by PTI.

"So, I hope it gets resolved. The wrestlers have won a lot of medals and brought accolades to the country. Hopefully, it will be resolved," the former BCCI president added.