A day after the sports ministry formed an Oversight Committee, to probe allegations of sexual misconduct against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) officials and to run the day-to-day affairs of the body, top wrestlers including Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia tweeted that they were not consulted before forming the committee. Boxing great Mary Kom was named as the head of the five-member Oversight Committee that will probe the sexual harassment allegations against WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The government-appointed committee will also run the day-to-day affairs of WFI for the next one month.
The other members of the panel are Olympic medallist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, former badminton player and Mission Olympic Cell member Trupti Murgunde, ex-TOPS CEO Rajagopalan, and former SAI executive director of teams – Radhica Sreeman.
“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. @narendramodi @AmitShah @ianuragthakur,” Vinesh Phogat wrote in a tweet.
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— Vinesh Phogat (@Phogat_Vinesh) January 24, 2023
Bajrang Punia also wrote the same words on Twitter.
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
Wrestlers Unhappy With Sports Ministry’s Committee To Probe Allegations Against Wrestling Federation
The announcement of the panel was made by Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Monday.
Thakur had decided to form the committee on Saturday following a three-day sit-in protest by some of the country’s top wrestlers including Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Ravi Dahiya against the WFI and its chief.
The wrestlers ended their protest after a breakthrough was achieved during a marathon second round of talks with Thakur late on Friday night.
“The WFI president will not discharge his duties and stay away from day-to-day affairs of WFI. The day-to-day working of WFI will be looked after by the Oversight Committee till their mandated duration and it will also probe the serious allegations against WFI and its chief,” Thakur said.
“The Oversight Committee will be under the chairmanship of world champion Mary Kom. Along with her, Yogeshwar Dutt, MOC member and Dronacharya awardee Trupti Murgunde, fomer TOPS CEO Rajagopalan and former ED Teams, SAI Radica Sreeman will be part of the committee.
“In the next one month, this committee will probe into the sexual allegations and other charges after talking to all parties and submit its report. Till then all the day-to-day decisions and workings of WFI will be taken care of by this committee,” he added.
Both May Kom and Yogeshwar are also part of the seven-member committee formed by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to probe the allegations of sexual harassment and corruption against the WFI chief.
Besides legendary boxer Mary Kom and wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, the IOA panel 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.
The agitating wrestlers, including young Anshu Malik, Sangeeta Phogat and Sonam Malik among others, started the sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar here on Wednesday and demanded the sacking of the WFI chief.
The wrestlers also demanded that the WFI be disbanded immediately and a new panel is formed, including grapplers in it.