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Indian wrestlers call off protest against sexual harassment

  • January 21, 2023

Top Indian wrestlers called off their protest on Saturday after receiving assurances from the government that an investigation into their allegations of sexual harassment would be concluded within a month.

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the head of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), also reportedly agreed to step aside until the claims of sexual harassment against him are investigated.

“We are ending our protest,” wrestler Bajrang Punia said after talks with India’s Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Friday.

Thakur assured them of the probe into the allegations, and said Singh would step aside until the investigations were over.

“The government has assured us that it will do justice to the players,” Punia wrote on Twitter.

Why were the athletes protesting?

The wrestlers and some 200 of their supporters staged a three-day sit-in protest near the parliament, accusing the federation head of sexually harassing young female athletes.

They had also declared a boycott of all matches.

Singh, a politician for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has denied the allegations and said that he is prepared to cooperate with the investigating authorities.

Vinesh Phogat, one of India’s most accomplished female wrestlers and a three-time Commonwealth Games winner, was leading the protests.

Phogat said many wrestlers who had been allegedly harassed were intimidated into not coming forward.

ss/fb (AFP, AP)

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