Wrestlers call off protest, WFI chief Brij Bhushan to step aside till probe is completed

Wrestler Bajrang Punia speaks as fellow wrestler Vinesh Phogat looks on during their ongoing protest against the Wrestling Federation of India | Photo: PTI

New Delhi: The Wrestlers' protest, which has been continuing at the Jantar Mantar in the national capital has finally been called off on Saturday with the Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur announcing Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh to "step aside" till the investigation by the "oversight committee" against the levelled allegations completes.

Anurag Thakur announced the constitution of an oversight committee to probe the allegations levelled against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and assured that justice would prevail in four weeks.

"Considering the demands of the sportspersons, we have decided to constitute an oversight committee, whose names will be announced tomorrow. The investigation will be completed in the next four weeks, wherein all the allegations levelled will be thoroughly probed to take a final decision," Anurag Thakur said addressing a press conference at his residence in the national capital during the early hours of Saturday.

Thakur also said that WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh would step aside till the probe ends.

"The committee will see all the day-to-day workings till the investigation completes, and till then Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh will step aside and cooperate with the investigation," he said.

Further addressing the mediapersons, Thakur said that the players kept their demands and a detailed discussion about it took place. "We had issued a notice to the Wrestling Federation of India when the allegations were levelled and asked them to respond within 72 hours, and they did. Similarly, we seek their timely support and cooperation so that the matter can be resolved soon," he added.

In the press conference, Thakur was accompanied by wrestlers Sakshee Malikkh, Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Ravi Dahiya and several others.

Extending gratitude for the government's concern, Ace India wrestler Bajrang Punia said, "The Union Sports Minister listened to our demands and has assured us that a proper investigation will be done. I thank him and we are hopeful that a fair probe will be done, hence we are calling off the protest."

Hence, the protest, which began on Wednesday at the Jantar Mantar in the national capital, was finally called off with the Sports Minister announcing Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh to set aside till the investigation against the levelled allegations completes.

The protest by wrestlers, including Olympic and Commonwealth Games (CWG) medalists, was underway in Delhi, as women wrestlers levelled serious charges of sexual harassment by the president and coaches of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and of mismanagement in the functioning of the federation.

However, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh refuted the allegations and claimed he would expose the 'political conspiracy' in a press conference in Uttar Pradesh's Gonda yesterday. (ANI)

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