Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

On April 28, Delhi Police registered two FIRs against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has been accused of sexually harassing women wrestlers. While one FIR pertained to allegations by a minor wrestler and was registered under the stringent POCSO Act, the second case pertained to the sexual harassment allegations of the other wrestlers.

The wrestlers have been protesting against Singh at Jantar Mantar since April 23 demanding justice and resignation of the WFI chief. However, even after the police registered two FIRs, the wrestlers continue their sit-in and now demanding Singh’s arrested. “This is our first step towards victory, but the protests will continue,” said Olympic medalist wrestler Sakshi Malik.

The protesting wrestlers have further alleged before the Supreme Court that the Delhi Police is ‘doing absolutely nothing’ in investigating the charges of sexual harassment against Singh.

Now, the million dollar question is - is it justified to exert pressure for someone’s arrest or just let the law take its own course of action?

Shading light on the matter, Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur has warned against hasty action in the matter. 

“You just can’t arrest anyone without having a lengthy investigation into the matter. One can’t jump the gun. The Delhi police has registered FIRs and the inquiry is on. Strict action will be taken against whoever is found guilty. I am totally against any sort of media trial,” said Thakur.

Meanwhile, chaos unfolded at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Wednesday as some of India’s top wrestlers alleged that Delhi police manhandled and abused them during their ongoing protests.

Former wrestler Geeta Phogat alleged that a policeman assaulted her brother in an inebriated condition. On the other hand, police claimed there was a scuffle after people were seen bringing cots to the site.

Earlier in the day, seven women wrestlers moved the Supreme Court, seeking permission to file an affidavit in sealed cover. Indian Olympic Association head and former star athlete PT Usha also reached the protest site to meet the wrestlers and express solidarity with them. The development happened days after she made a statement accusing them of tarnishing the image of the country.

Meanwhile, in response to the developments, the United World Wrestling (UWW) president Nenad Lalovic has written a letter to WFI seeking clarity on who is running the sports in the country.

So, let’s have a look at some other allegations and rumours related to the controversial wrestlers protest in New Delhi.

1. It is alleged that the protest is caste motivated and these wrestlers don’t want any non-Haryanvi or non-Jaat chief of the federation. They allegedly want a Haryanvi chief at any cost. 

2. Earlier, Indian Olympic Association had formed a 7-member committee headed by Mary Kom to probe the sexual harassment charges against the WFI chief. However, the committee gave clean chit to the federation president due to lack of evidence. 

3. The wrestlers then said that they don’t have faith in the committee and even Delhi Police.

4. The protesting wrestlers have not filed even a single FIR against WFI chief. 

5. This protest has now led mudslinging between the Rajput and the Jaat community people.

6. The protest is now termed as politically motivated with some athletes with political ambitions allegedly trying to settle scores and take advantage of the situation.

7. Sangeeta Phogat shared an Insta story where she warned PM Modi while mentioning the Jaat community.

8. Surprisingly, PM Modi and CM Yogi were allegedly abused by the protestors and those who extended support to them. ‘Modi teri kabar khudegi’ chants were reportedly raised during the wrestlers’ protest.