Union Minister of State (MoS) V Muraleedharan, met with the families of the fishermen who have been detained by the Iranian authorities for allegedly crossing the border in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president PT Usha, who has been facing criticism for her insensitive remark on fellow athletes, on Wednesday visited Jantar Mantar to show her solidarity with the wrestlers who are protesting there against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh accusing him of sexual harassment.
Earlier, the Olympian had ruffled feathers by saying that the grapplers should have approached the IOA instead of going out on the streets against the WFI and its president.
The wrestlers are holding a sit-in at Jantar Mantar for the last 11 days demanding action against the tainted WFI chief. “She (Usha) said that I am with you and I will help you get justice,” ace wrestler Bajrang Punia informed mediapersons after the meeting.
The Olympic 2021 Bronze medalist asserted that the wrestlers will continue their protest till the time the WFI Chief is put behind bars. “We will stay here until he (the WFI chief) goes to jail,” she said.
“Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is having a committee for sexual harassment, instead of going to the streets they (protesting wrestlers) could have come to us earlier but they did not come to IOA. It is not good for sports not only for wrestlers, they should also have some discipline,” the IOA president had told mediapersons.
Disappointed by her April 27 remarks, Sakshee Malikkh had told mediapersons said, “Being a woman athlete, she (PT Usha) is not listening to other women athletes. We have followed her since childhood and got inspired by her. Where is indiscipline here, we are sitting here peacefully.”
Vinesh Phogat, a CWG and World Championships medalist, had also termed Usha’s comments as “insensitive”.
“We live as per the constitution and are independent citizens. We can go anywhere. If we are sitting out in the streets, there must be some reason, a reason that nobody listened to us, be it IOA or Sports Ministry. Her saying this is insensitive. I even called her, but she did not pick up my phone,” said Vinesh.
Three months ago, prominent wrestlers came forward to lead a protest against the WFI Chief, the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports announced the formation of an ‘oversight committee’ to probe allegations levelled against the WFI and its chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and other coaches.
The committee was tasked with submitting a report on the issue to the ministry. The wrestlers launched a fresh protest in April.
On April 30, the Delhi Police registered two FIRs against WFI president Singh over allegations of sexual harassment and exploitation of female wrestlers by him. Top Indian grapplers such as Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, and many other wrestlers are involved in the protest against the WFI chief.