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With No FIR Against WFI Chief Despite POCSO-Related Allegations, Wrestlers Approach Supreme Court

A group of renowned wrestlers including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and others have reconvened to protest at Jantar Mantar, even spending the night there on Sunday night.

New Delhi: After the Delhi Police failed to register an FIR even three days after wrestlers filed a police complaint against BJP MP and Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the wrestlers have filed a petition in the Supreme Court.

The complaint filed at Connaught Place police station, protesting wrestlers have said, included details of six women and one minor girl accusing Singh of sexual misconduct. Despite the severity of the charges, which should have triggered charges against the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, no FIR has been filed yet.

“Take action against us if we are lying, take against against Bhushan if he is found wrong,” the wrestlers said in a press conference on Monday, according to News18, insisting that their only demand was for a fair probe into the serious allegations against Singh.

A group of renowned wrestlers including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and others have reconvened to protest at Jantar Mantar, even spending the night there on Sunday night. They had said that they will continue their protest and not leave Jantar Mantar until an FIR has been filed.

While protesting in January, wrestlers had asked CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat to leave the stage, saying that it was an athletes’ protest and they did not want it to be politicised. This time, however, they have welcomed all political parties to join them if they like – including the BJP, of which Singh is a leader. Last time, they said, they did not accept political support and were “misguided”.

Meanwhile, the government has put the elections for WFI chief scheduled for May 7 on hold, and written to Indian Olympic Association president P.T. Usha asking the body to make “suitable interim arrangements for managing WFI”, The Indian Express reported. The IOA will constitute an ad-hoc committee to conduct elections to the WFI’s Executive Committee within 45 days of its formation and to manage the day-to-day affairs of the body.

The government had appointed an Oversight Committee headed by boxing legend Mary Kom on January 23 to probe the allegations against Singh by the wrestlers. However, though the report has been submitted, it has not been made public yet.

Vinesh Phogat had said earlier this month that they had “lost faith” in the committee. Though they had received assurances from the government, those were not fulfilled either, Phogat had added.

In January, Phogat  alleged that Singh has been sexually exploiting women wrestlers for many years. Singh has vehemently denied the charge. Phogat had also said that they had met home minister Amit Shah who had assured them that they would get justice.