Wrestlers Protest: The Wrestling Federation of India's (WFI) emergency general council meeting, scheduled here for Sunday, was called off after the Sports Ministry directed it to suspend all ongoing activities owing to the various allegations against the sports body and its president. The ministry Saturday said it has directed the WFI to suspend "all ongoing activities with immediate effect", including the Ranking Tournament in Gonda, UP, the federation president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh's stronghold.
- Sharan has been accused of sexually harassing women wrestlers and working like a dictatory by some of the country's top wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Ravi Dahiya.
- The protest intensified on Thursday (January 19) as wrestlers demanded for the sacking of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh while WFI was given a 72-hour deadline to answer.
- A four-member committee met Sports Ministry officials on Thursday to discuss the issue and would later meet the Sports Minister .
- The wrestlers protested at Delhi's Jantar Mantar and sought Singh's resignation, among other demands. However, the protest was called off by the grapplers after they met Sports Minister Anurag Thakur for the second time.
- After the meeting, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur announced that the government has decided to form an oversight committee that will probe the matter.
- Anurag Thakur also stated that the WFI President will step aside till the committee is in existence. The committee will submit its report within four weeks. Meanwhile, the protesting wrestlers ended their demonstration after receiving promises from the government that their complaints would be taken care of, the initial action being the resignation of the Wrestling Federation of India Chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh who was facing criticism.
- In the meantime, Indian Olympic Comittee also formed a seven-memebr panel to look into the matters
- The Wrestling Federation of India on Saturday sent a reply to the Sports Ministry over allegations against its' president Singh. The Federation has rejected all the allegations made by the Indian wrestlers, including that of sexual harassment against the body's president Singh. "The WFI is managed by an elected body as per its constitution, and therefore, there is no scope for arbitrariness and mismanagement in WFI by anyone individually, including the president," the WFI said in its response to the sports ministry.
- The ministry on Saturday also suspended WFI's assistant secretary Vinod Tomar, a fallout of the grapplers' allegations of sexual harassment and corruption against the sports body's chief.
- The emergency meeting of WFI in Ayodhya was also called off on Sunday after rising tension.
ALSO READ I