WFI chief thanks Akhilesh for not siding with protesting wrestlers

Gonda (UP): Embattled WFI chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on Sunday praised Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav for not associating himself with the ongoing protest by top wrestlers of the country, saying Yadav was “standing with the truth”.

Singh is in the eye of a storm after the grapplers levelled sexual harassment charges against him and demanded registration of an FIR against him as well as his ouster from the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

Various political parties, including the Congress, AAP and others, have lend their support to the protesting wrestlers.

“The entire world knows that all these women are from the Mahadev Wrestling Academy and (Congress leader) Deepender Singh Hooda is the patron of that akhada.”

“Priyanka Gandhi was unaware of the facts. Deepender Hooda, who is the scriptwriter of this story, persuaded her to come (to wrestlers’ protests),” he added.

He further claimed, without mentioning any specific incident, that the protesters have now started speaking against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which should be taken note of as the protesters are also employees of the Indian Railways.

“You don’t get justice from Jantar Mantar. If you want justice, you have to go to the police and the court. They never did that until now. Just kept abusing. We will accept whatever the court decides,” he added.

India’s top wrestlers, including Vignesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia  have been protesting since April 23, demanding criminal action against Singh for alleged sexual harassment and intimidation of seven wrestlers including a minor.

A FIR has also been filed against the BJP MP on the directon of Supreme Court of India.

Politicians such as Congress party’s Priyanka Gandhi and Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayant Chaudhary, former Jammu and Kahsmir Governor Satya Pal Malik, Delhi government ministers Atishi Singh and Suarbah Bhardwaj have visited the protest site to extend their support to the athletes in the last few days.

Earlier, Brij Bhushan Singh had said resigning from his post, as demanded by protesting wrestlers, wasn’t a big deal for him, but he won’t do it “as a criminal”.

“Their (wrestlers’) demands are constantly changing. They first asked for my resignation as the federation chief, I said that would mean accepting the charges against me. Resignation is no big deal, but I won’t do it as a criminal. I am not a criminal,” he said.