Indian Olympians Persist in Demanding Arrest of Wrestling Chief

A gaggle of India’s most completed wrestlers, who’ve accused the game’s high official in the nation of serial harassment and abuse of feminine wrestlers, vowed on Friday to proceed a day-and-night protest after a conflict two days earlier with the Delhi police.

The protesting wrestlers, amongst them two Olympic medalists and a world champion, have demanded the resignation and arrest of the federation’s president, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. They say that Mr. Singh, 66, harassed not less than seven younger ladies, one of whom was a minor, over the course of a decade, beginning in 2012. He has referred to as the accusations “baseless.”

The authorities introduced a committee in January to research the claims, however months of inaction have adopted — a mirrored image, protesters say, of Mr. Singh’s political connections as a member of Parliament from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP

When the wrestlers went public with their allegations earlier this yr, they drew speedy media consideration. The achievements of one of them, Vinesh Phogat, a world champion, had been featured in “Dangal,” the top-grossing movie in Indian historical past. Ms. Phogat and the 2 Olympic medalists — Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik — leveled the accusations towards Mr. Singh on behalf of the seven wrestlers who had reported being harassed.

While particulars of the allegations, and the ladies’s identities, have been stored non-public in accordance with Indian regulation, India’s Supreme Court has acknowledged that the case entails “severe allegations of sexual harassment.”

“This is a matter of honor for sportswomen,” Ms. Malik stated. “We convey medals at worldwide ranges. If we’re not secure in this nation, then what can we take into consideration the longer term of different women?”

The Delhi police, who’ve been identified in latest years to behave shortly in many instances, generally on the idea of a single tweet, have taken a unique method to the wrestlers’ case. Only after attorneys representing the wrestlers petitioned the Supreme Court did the Delhi police lodge an official report. The Delhi power is overseen by the nation’s house minister, Amit Shah, a high BJP official.

After the federal government introduced the investigative committee, the protesters withdrew in January from their vigil in the middle of the capital. But they returned on April 23, livid on the lack of motion. The protest has grown to incorporate advocates for ladies’s rights, and members of opposition events have taken up the wrestlers’ trigger.

Anurag Thakur, the sports activities minister and a distinguished BJP chief, stated on Friday that the wrestlers’ calls for have been being met and that they need to permit the investigation to be accomplished.

The BJP’s high chief, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been silent on the case, as has Mr. Shah. On Sunday, Mr. Modi celebrated the a centesimal episode of his radio program, “Mann Ki Baat,” which interprets loosely as “phrases from the center,” in half by reminding the nation of his work on empowering India’s ladies and women.

Ms. Malik, the Olympian, this week referred to as on Mr. Modi to carry Mr. Singh accountable. Mr. Modi “invitations us to his house once we win medals and offers us rather a lot of respect and calls us his daughters,” she stated on Wednesday. “Today, we enchantment to him that he listens to our ‘mann ki baat.’”

That identical evening, the Delhi police clashed with the protesters, because the vigil web site erupted into shoving and screams. The protesters stated they have been attacked by the police as they tried to convey cots into the positioning. The police denied assaulting the demonstrators.

After the conflict, the wrestlers threatened to return their medals in protest. The demonstrators have strung up banners that checklist the handfuls of medals that the younger athletes have received for India, evaluating them to the 38 felony fees which have been lodged through the years towards Mr. Singh, a strongman politician from the state of Uttar Pradesh. (Only 4 fees stay on the books.)

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