Wrestlers agree to suspend protest till June 15

New Delhi: The protesting wrestlers on Wednesday agreed to suspend their protest for a week after the government asked them to wait till police complete its probe into sexual harassment allegations against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh by June 15.

The wrestlers, after a nearly five-hour meeting with Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, said the government has also assured them that the police will withdraw the FIRs filed against them on May 28 when they marched towards the new Parliament building without permission to hold ‘Mahila Samman Mahapachayat’.

The meeting was attended by Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, her husband Satyawart Kadiyan and Jitender Kinha.

Double world medallist Vinesh Phogat, a prominent face of the protest against the WFI chief, skipped the meet.

“We were told that the police investigation will be complete by June 15. Till then, we have been asked to wait and suspend the protest,” Sakshi Malik told reporters after the meeting.

Both Malik and Punia asserted that their agitation was not yet over and they suspended their protest only till June 15 as requested by the government.

Later addressing a press conference, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur said a chargesheet in the case into the allegations of sexual harassment against outgoing WFI chief Brijbhushan Sharan Singh will be filed by June 15.

Thakur also assured that the elections to the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) will be held by June 30.

Noting that the government has accepted every demand of the wrestlers, he said WFI will also have an internal complaints committee, headed by a woman.

Thakur said the wrestlers had also demanded the withdrawal of cases against various academies and sportspersons as well as not allowing Singh and his associates to participate in the election process.

“All these issues were agreed by consensus,” the sports minister said.

Asked about the wrestlers’ demand for Singh’s arrest, Thakur said the investigation into the case will be completed and a chargesheet will be filed by June 15.

This was the second meeting between the government and protesting wrestlers in a span of five days.

The wrestlers had met Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday night and apprised him of their demands.