Indian Olympians Persist in Demanding Arrest of Wrestling Chief

A gaggle of India’s most achieved 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 than 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 at the least seven younger girls, 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 quick 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. Mrs. 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 saved personal in accordance with Indian legislation, India’s Supreme Court has acknowledged that the case entails “critical allegations of sexual harassment.”

“This is a matter of honor for sportswomen,” Ms. Malik mentioned. “We convey medals at worldwide ranges. If we aren’t protected in this nation, then what can we take into consideration the long run of different ladies?”

The Delhi police, who’ve been identified in current years to behave rapidly in many circumstances, generally on the idea of a single tweet, have taken a distinct strategy to the wrestlers’ case. Only after attorneys representing the wrestlers petitioned the Supreme Court did the Delhi police lodge an official report. The Delhi drive is overseen by the nation’s dwelling 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 girls’s rights, and members of opposition events have taken up the wrestlers’ trigger.

Anurag Thakur, the BJP sports activities minister, mentioned on Friday that the wrestlers’ calls for had been being met and that they need to enable 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 one hundredth 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 girls and ladies.

Mrs. Malik, the Olympian, this week referred to as on Mr. Modi to carry Mr. Singh accountable. mr. Modi “invitations us to his dwelling after we win medals and offers us rather a lot of respect and calls us his daughters,” she mentioned 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 website erupted into shoving and screams. The protesters mentioned they had been attacked by the police as they tried to convey cots into the location. 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 gained for India, evaluating them to the 38 prison costs which have been lodged over time towards Mr. Singh, a strongman politician from the state of Uttar Pradesh. (Only 4 costs stay on the books.)

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