Protest against WFI: Babita Phogat comes with ‘message' from govt; wrestlers demand new federation

Bajrang Punia, Anshu Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik along with others wrestelers take part in an ongoing protest against the Wrestling Federation of India | Photo: AFP

New Delhi: Three-time CWG medallist and BJP leader Babita Phogat on Thursday came with a "message" from the government and assured the grapplers that their demands will be met after elite wrestlers insisted that WFI be disbanded.

Top Indian wrestlers, including three-time CWG champion Vinesh Phogat and the Olympic bronze medallist duo of Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, sat in protest at the Jantar Mantar for the second day straight against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh who has been accused of sexual harassment.

Babita, a former wrestler, arrived at the protest and heard the demands of the grapplers.

"I will try to get the solution. I am a wrestler first and then a political person. I know their pain and I will try to get the solution that the wrestlers want," Babita said.

Bajrang, Anshu Malik, Sakshi and Vinesh have demanded that the WFI be disbanded and a new federation be formed.

Wrestlers including Bajrang, his wife Sangeeta, Vinesh, Sarita Mor, Anshu Malik, Antim Pangal were called for a meeting with Sports Secretary Sujata Chaturvedi, a few minutes after Babita left the protest site.

Apart from Chaturvedi, DG SAI Sandeep Pradhan and Joint Secretary (Sports) Kunal are also a part of the meeting with the wrestlers.

Tokyo Olympics silver winner Ravi Dahiya and world championship silver medallist Deepak Punia also joined the protest along with several others in a show of strength.

On Wednesday, Vinesh had claimed that WFI chief has been sexually exploiting women wrestlers for many years, a charge that the sports administrator and BJP MP has vehemently denied.

She also alleged that several coaches at the national camp in Lucknow have also exploited women wrestlers.

Brinda Karat asked to leave protest

CPI(M) Leader Brinda Karat, who arrived at the protest in support of the wrestlers, was asked to leave the protest site by the grapplers, saying they don't want anyone to give it a political colour.

“We request you, madam, please don't make this political," Bajrang said.


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