Thu, 21 Sep 2023

New Delhi [India], May 29 (ANI): Indian Olympic gold medalist, Abhinav Bindra has urged to establish independent safeguarding measures across sporting organizations amid wrestlers' protest in the national capital.

Indian Olympic medalist wrestlers Sakshi Malik, and Bajrang Punia along with Vinesh Phogat and Sangeeta Phogat are protesting against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Singh. They have accused the WFI chief of sexual harassment and are demanding his arrest. Many opposition parties have supported protesting wrestlers.

The protesting wrestlers were attempting to march to the new parliament building from their protest site at Jantar Mantar to stage a demonstration on Sunday. They were stopped and detained by the security personnel in Delhi.

Reacting to the horrific scenes when protesting wrestlers were detained, Abhinav Bindra took to his Twitter to react to the scuffle that broke out between security personnel and protesting wrestlers.

"Last night was sleepless, haunted by the horrifying images of my fellow Indian wrestlers protesting. It's high time we establish independent safeguarding measures across sporting organizations.""We must ensure that if such situations arise, they are dealt with utmost sensitivity and respect. Every athlete deserves a safe and empowering environment." Bindra tweeted.

The Delhi Police have registered an FIR against the organisers of the protest and their supporters for violating law and order in connection with the scuffle that broke out at Jantar Mantar on Sunday.

The FIR has been filed under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 147,149,186, 188, 332, 353, Section 3 of the PDPP Act, said Delhi Police. The FIR was registered at Parliament Street police station.

The Delhi Police has also removed the tent of the protesting wrestlers from the protesting site at Jantar Mantar. "Yesterday, protesters violated the law despite all requests made to them. That is why, the ongoing sit-in protest has been made to conclude. If the wrestlers give an application for sit-in protest again in future, they will be permitted for the same at a suitable place other than Jantar Mantar,"The Delhi Police had warned earlier that they would not allow "unsocial elements" to enter the national capital to ensure the smooth conduct of the inauguration of the new Parliament building, said DCP, Sonipat East Gaurav Rajpurohit.

The wrestlers had announced their plan to hold a women's Maha Panchayat in front of the new Parliament as part of their protest against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan who was accused of sexually harassing women wrestlers. Seven women wrestlers have filed a police complaint against him.

Bajrang Punia on Sunday has said that the presence of Wrestling Federation chief (WFI) Brij Bhushan Singh during the inauguration of the new parliament building was unfortunate.

"It is unfortunate for our country that the new parliament building was being inaugurated and an accused was present," said Punia.

Punia also stated that he was the last one to get released after being detained for almost ten hours. "There is no point in going home till we get justice. For 10 hours we were detained in different police stations. I was the last one to get released,"Punia also tweeted earlier accusing Delhi Police of keeping him in custody without committing a crime. "Till now the police have kept me in their custody. Not telling anything. Have I committed any crime? Brij Bhushan should have been in jail. Why have we been kept in prison?" He wrote in his tweet.

Sakshi Malik voiced her anger towards Delhi Police in her tweet, "It takes seven days for Delhi Police to register an FIR against Brij Bhushan who sexually assaulted the wrestlers and it didn't even take seven hours to register an FIR against us for peacefully protesting. Has dictatorship started in this country? The whole world is watching how the government is treating its sports persons,"The Delhi Police on May 12 filed a status report on the application moved by woman wrestlers in an alleged offence of sexual offence levelled against WFI Chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The court was also informed that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed to investigate the matter.

The wrestlers marched from Jantar Mantar to Bangla Sahib Gurudwara in the national capital on their 25th day of protest against Brij Bhushan on May 19. Grapplers including Punia, Sakshi, Vinesh and others joined the march demanding the arrest of the WFI chief charged with sexual harassment of athletes.

Two separate FIRs were registered on April 28 following the Supreme Court's notice to Delhi Police into the plea filed by the wrestlers.

Earlier on April 24, The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports announced that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) will be forming an ad-hoc committee to conduct the elections for the Executive Committee of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) within 45 days of its formation, to manage day-to-day affairs of the body, including the selection of athletes and making entries for the participation of players in international events. This committee will be functioning for an interim period till a new Executive Committee takes charge.

Earlier this year, prominent wrestlers came forward to lead a protest against the WFI chief, following which the Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Thakur, announced the formation of an 'oversight committee' to probe allegations against the WFI, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and some coaches. Wrestling Federation of India Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar is also named as an accused in the FIR.

The movement has gained support from opposition parties and farmer unions, with many people voicing their concerns about the alleged sexual harassment. (ANI)

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