India’s top wrestlers, Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, and Sakshi Malik made known their disappointment that the government did not consult them before forming the oversight committee that will probe sexual harassment and intimidation charges against WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, contrary to the assurances they say they were given.
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur had announced on Monday that a five-member oversight committee, headed by legendary boxer MC Mary Kom, would investigate the charges against the WFI boss and also manage the day-to-day affairs of the Wrestling Federation of India.
Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sarita Mor and Sakshi Malik, who staged a sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar for three days demanding the sacking of the WFI president, posted identical tweets expressing their dismay.
“We were assured that we will be consulted before the formation of the oversight committee. It’s really sad that we were not consulted,” the wrestlers tweeted and tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Thakur.
– Bajrang Punia ���� (@BajrangPunia) January 24, 2023
The oversight committee has former wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, ex-badminton player and Mission Olympic Cell member Trupti Murgunde, ex-TOPS CEO Rajesh Rajagopalan and former SAI executive director – teams – Radhica Sreeman as other members.
Earlier, Dutt had publicly come out in support of Singh, who is a six-time MP with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with Mary Kom also a nominated MP by the BJP.
Both Mary Kom and Yogeshwar Dutt are also part of the the seven-member committee formed by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to probe the allegations of sexual harassment and corruption against the WFI chief. The IOA panel also includes archer Dola Banerjee and Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) president and IOA treasurer Sahdev Yadav. The other members of the IOA committee are two advocates — Talish Ray and Shlok Chandra — besides former shuttler and IOA joint secretary Alaknanda Ashok, who is its vice chairperson.