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Wrestlers vs WFI: 'The protest by wrestlers against me is the dharna of Shaheen Bagh' - Brij Bhushan Singh

Wrestler vs WFI: The Indian wrestlers continued their protest against the governing body and its president on Day 3 on Friday. Meanwhile, WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has compared the protest with Shaheen Bagh.

wrestling Wrestlers vs WFI: The protest by wrestlers against me is the dharna of Shaheen Bagh - Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh-ayh
First Published Jan 20, 2023, 3:48 PM IST

On Friday, under-fire Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh termed the protest by the country's top grapplers "dharna of Shaheen Bagh" and reiterated that he wouldn't quit from the post. The agitating wrestlers on Friday reached out to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), demanding the formation of an enquiry committee to probe the allegations of sexual harassment against Singh, a day after threatening to lodge multiple FIRs against the WFI chief. However, Singh has stuck to his stand not to relinquish the post.

"The protest by wrestlers against me is the dharna of Shaheen Bagh," Singh, a sixth-time Lok Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) from Uttar Pradesh's (UP's) Kaisarganj constituency, told reporters in his native place in Gonda. Singh also termed the protest in Delhi's Jantar Mantar an attack on Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) orchestrated by the Congress party.

ALSO READ: Wrestlers to IOA - 'Form probe panel to look into sexual harassment allegations against WFI President'

Earlier speaking to a TV channel, he had said, "The protesting players have become a toy in the hands of Congress and Deepinder Hooda. This type of conspiracy was done against me by Congress almost three decades ago. Once again, the plot has been repeated. I had earlier said there was a conspiracy, and big powers were behind it. Now, those forces are coming out in the open."

He added, "The picture becomes clearer with the tweets and statements by Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Deepinder Hooda. This attack is on the Bharatiya Janata Party and me through me." Singh is scheduled to hold a press conference at Nandini Nagar Stadium in Gonda later in the evening.

ALSO READ: Wrestlers vs WFI - Grapplers adamant, as meeting with Sports Minister Anurag Thakur remains inconclusive

Top Indian wrestlers had on Thursday refused to back down from their demand to disband the WFI as they met union sports minister Anurag Thakur. Celebrated Indian wrestlers, including Olympic medallist Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, world championship medallist Vinesh Phogat and others have been staging a sit-in protest for the past two days at Jantar Mantar against the WFI president, accusing him of sexual harassment and intimidation.

The wrestlers' meeting with Thakur remained inconclusive on Thursday. Bajrang, Ravi Dahiya, Sakshi and Vinesh were part of the meeting. Thakur flew to Delhi from Himachal Pradesh after an earlier meeting between government officials and the protesting wrestlers remained inconclusive the previous day.

ALSO READ: Wrestlers vs WFI President - Brij Bhushan, accused of sexual harassment, likely to resign at AGM on Sunday?

The ministry has asked the wrestling body for an explanation. The WFI is yet to respond to the sports ministry, which on Wednesday gave the wrestling body 72 hours to respond to the allegations of sexual harassment. Meanwhile, the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal raised a question on Friday as to why the WFI president has not been asked to resign in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by female wrestlers.

"It's been 72 hours since the wrestlers' strike! Why has the resignation of the WFI President not been asked yet? Why is FIR not being registered to investigate the allegations of sexual abuse? - Why is the Sports Minister not getting the players to end their strike? How long will the pride of such a country sit on the streets?" Maliwal asked in a tweet in Hindi.

(With inputs from PTI)

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