Wrestlers’ Protest: ‘Wasn’t consulted as promised,’ says Bajrang Punia on Centre’s Overnight Committee

New Delhi: Ace wrestler Bajrang Punia on Tuesday alleged that the central government did not consult with the athletes who protested at Jantar Mantar in the national capital while forming the Overnight Committee.

He said, “We were assured that we would be consulted before the Oversight Committee was formed. It is very sad that we were not even consulted before the formation of this committee.”

हमें आश्वासन दिया गया था कि Oversight Committee के गठन से पहले हमसे परामर्श किया जाएगा। बड़े दुख की बात है कि इस कमेटी के गठन से पहले हमसे राय भी नहीं ली गई. @narendramodi @AmitShah @ianuragthakur

— Bajrang Punia (@BajrangPunia) January 24, 2023

This comes a day after the Centre announced the formation of an Overnight Committee to look into the allegations of sexual misconduct, financial irregularities and administrative lapses at the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) levelled by the athletes.

Female wrestlers including top athlete Vinesh Phogat has accused WFI chief and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual assualt. Phogat informed that there are proof that the accused took sexual advantage of the female athletes as well as the coaches.

The protesting wrestlers said that there are other authorities as well in the federation or male coaches “favorite” to the commiittee who sexually exploit female athletes and other staff.

Demands of dissolving WFI

The protesting athletes asked for the resignation of the accused minister while alos raising the demands of dissolving the entire committee to start afresh. They alleged that even the wrestling committees of every states are corrupted who tortures wrestlers mentally and sexually.

Accused Minister Steps Aside Till The Enquiry Lasts

After a multiple rounds of talk with the protesting wrestlers, Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur announced that an Overnight Committee will be formed that will briefly investigate through all the allegations. He added that during this time, accused minister and WFI chief Bhushan will stay aside.

Boxing Champion Mary Kom to lead Committee 

Announcing the list of the members in the Overnight Committe, the Centre declared that top boxer Mary Kom will be the head.

In a press release issuesd by the Government of Inida, it said, “The Oversight Committee will be headed by Khel Ratna Awardee MC Mary Kom, Chairperson, Athletes Commission, Khel Ratna Awardee Yogeshwar Dutt, executive council member, IOA , Dhyanchand awardee Trupti Murgunde, member Mission Olympic Cell, Radhica Sreeman, Ex-Executive Director, TEAMS, Sports Authority of India, Crd (Retd) Rajesh Rajagopalan, Ex-CEO, Target Olympic Podium Scheme.”


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