Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur announced on January 21 that the President of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, is to step aside after the wrestlers leading the charge, Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat among others, arrived at the minister’s residence. Reports suggest that, after talks with Thakur, the wrestlers have had a breakthrough and have been given assurances regarding the situation.
One such assurance is the displacement of the WFI President, a primary concern of the protesting wrestlers. Furthermore, the government will form a committee that will not only investigate the issue at hand but also overlook the day-to-day affairs of the federation. The committee has been asked to submit its report within a month’s time.
As per the Union Minister of Sports, Singh will step down as WFI President until the investigation comes to a close.
Wrestlers end protest after assurances of safety and security
Punia mentioned that they were “pushed to the limit” and had no other choice in what must be a significant breakthrough for the wrestlers. After getting assurances from the government, Punia mentioned that the wrestlers could call off the protest.
Safety and security are critical in a year crucial for the grapplers. The Asian Games and the Olympic Qualifiers are on the way, which means preparation and the right mindset are key.
IOA seven-member committee
The IOA has set up a seven-member committee of its own to look into sexual harassment claims. The committee comprises eminent sportspersons such as Mary Kom and wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt. Other members of the committee include Alaknanda Ashok, Dola Banarjee, Sahdev Yadav, Shlok Chandra and Talish Ray.
The committee will look into the matter from both sides and form a report, which will then be submitted to the IOA President. The committee has been informed to meet at the earliest to tackle the issue.