Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on June 7 assured the protesting wrestlers that the Wrestling Federation of India elections would be held by June 30 after meeting with them at his official residence in New Delhi.
Union Minister Anurag Thakur also told the wrestlers that the police investigation into their allegations of sexual harassment against former WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh would be completed by June 15, and he would inform the wrestlers about the status of the investigation.
Anurag Thakur also spoke to the media after an hours-long meeting with the protesting wrestlers. Olympic medalists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia were among the wrestlers who met Anurag Thakur.
Anurag Thakur said, “I had a long 6-hour discussion with the wrestlers. We have assured wrestlers that the probe will be completed by June 15, and chargesheets will be submitted. The election of WFI will be done by June 30.”
“All FIRs against wrestlers should be taken back. Wrestlers also requested that Brij Bhushan Singh, who has completed three terms, and his associates should not be re-elected. Wrestlers will not hold any protest before June 15,” he added.
Anurag Thakur also said that the wrestlers would not protest until June 15. He also said that an internal complaint committee, headed by a woman, will be formed for the Wrestling Federation of India.
It is to be noted that this was the second meeting by Anurag Thakur with the protesting wrestlers. The wrestlers also met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on June 3.
The months-long protest by the wrestlers seems to be coming to an end, with the Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur assuring the protesting athletes with definitive deadlines.
Speaking to the media after the meeting with Anurag Thakur, Olympics bronze medalist Bajrang Punia said that they have requested the Government to quash FIRs that were filed against them during the protest.
“The Government has assured us that the police investigation will be completed before June 15. We have requested that all FIRs against wrestlers should be taken back, and he has agreed to it. If no action is taken by June 15, we will continue our protest,” he said.
Top Indian wrestlers have been protesting against WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh after having accused him of sexual harassment.
The wrestlers began protesting at the Jantar Mantar in January and had a meeting with Sports Minister Anurag Thakur back then, following which a probe committee was formed. However, the wrestlers returned to the protest site last month after alleging a lack of proper response from the top officials and no action against Brij Bhushan, who is also a BJP MP.
In May, the United World Wrestling (UWW) also threatened to suspend the Wrestling Federation of India if it does not provide information about the proposed next elective general assembly.
A 45-day deadline to hold the next elective general assembly was set in January after the Sports Ministry suspended the WFI and its activities over the initial protest by the wrestlers.
The protesting wrestlers also threatened to immerse their medals in the river Ganga on May 30, demanding quick action against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh; however, at the last moment, they changed their decision.