New Delhi: United World Wrestling (UWW), the international governing body for amateur wrestling, said on Tuesday, May 30, that it condemns the arrest and temporary detention of the wrestlers who are protesting against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, adding that it is disappointed “over the lack of results of the investigations so far”.
The body, which is also responsible for overseeing wrestling at the Olympics, said it has followed with “great concern the situation in India where wrestlers are protesting over allegations of abuse and harassment by the President of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI)”.
It said that while the president, Singh, “has been put aside at an early stage and is currently not in charge”, it was worried by the events of the past few days. On May 28, the wrestlers were detained when they planned to march to the new parliament building. Their protest site at Jantar Mantar was also cleared by the Delhi police.
“UWW firmly condemns the treatment and detention of the wrestlers. It expresses its disappointment over the lack of results of the investigations so far. UWW urges the relevant authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the allegations,” the statement said.
UWW said it will hold a meeting with the wrestlers to “inquire about their condition and safety and reconfirm our support for a fair and just resolution of their concerns”.
“Finally, UWW will request further information about the next elective general assembly from the IOA and the Ad-hoc Committee of the WFI. The 45-day deadline that was initially set to hold this elective assembly shall be respected. Failing to do so may lead UWW to suspend the federation, thereby forcing the athletes to compete under a neutral flag. It is reminded that UWW already took a measure in this situation by reallocating the Asian Championship planned in New Delhi earlier this year,” the statement added.
On Tuesday, the wrestlers had planned to throw their medals – won at the Olympics and other top international events – into the Ganga as a mark of protest against the government’s attitude towards their complaints. But they deferred after the intervention of farmer leader Naresh Tikait.