Ignoring their pleas tarnishes country's image: Tharoor on PT Usha's remark against wrestlers

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New Delhi: Opposition party leaders hit out at Indian Olympics Association President PT Usha on Friday for criticising the protest by wrestlers in Delhi, alleging she has become a "political mouthpiece".

The wrestlers have launched a second round of protest against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, accusing him sexual harassment and intimidation.

Usha, a Rajya Sabha member, has condemned the protest, saying the grapplers lacked discipline in hitting the street in supportof their demand. She also said their action has tarnished the image of India.

Reponding to Usha, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said ignoring their pleas tarnishes the country's image, not hearing them out.

"Dear @PTUshaOfficial, it is does not become you to disparage the justified protests of your fellow sportspersons in the face of repeated & wanton sexual harassment. Their standing up for their rights does not 'tarnish the image of the nation'. Ignoring their concerns - instead of hearing them out, investigating them & taking just action - does," he said.

CPI MP Binoy Viswam blamed the sprinter's "newly found" political friends for her stand on the issue.

"Usha, with utmost respect and affection,I have to say, your comments on the suffering wrestlers should have been avoided. The country and the sport lovers wish to see you as a spirited sports person. Alas! Your newly found friends want to make you their political mouthpiece," Viswam said.

TMC MP Mahua Moitra also attributed the former sportswoman's stand to her Rajya Sabha seat.

"Wrestlers protesting on streets tarnishing India's image says @PTUshaOfficial. So ruling party MP chairing WFI for years accused of molestation & abuse of power against who @DelhiPolice refuses to lodge FIR in spite of SC order makes India smell of roses, does it?" tweeted Moitra.

Top wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat, are protesting at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, demanding that the government makes public the findings of the oversight panel that investigated sexual harassment allegations against the WFI chief. PTI

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