Wrestler Vinesh Phogat’s Charge Against Anurag Thakur Amid #MeToo Protest

Addressing the media, Olympian Vinesh Phogat said, “It is very difficult to stand against a person who is misusing his power and position for so long.”

India’s ace wrestler Vinesh Phogat, who has been protesting at Jantar Mantar with other top grapplers against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, has said it is tough to stand against a powerful person who is misusing his power and position for a very long time.

The wrestlers are protesting over sexual harassment charges against the WFI chief and demanding his arrest.

Addressing the media, Olympian Vinesh Phogat said yesterday, “It is very difficult to stand against a person who is misusing his power and position for so long.”

She revealed that the wrestlers had met an official before they started their protest in Jantar Mantar, for the first time. But, no action was taken.

“Three-four months before we sat at Jantar Mantar, we had met an official, we had told him everything that how women athletes are sexually harassed and mentally tortured when no action was taken, then we sat on Dharna,” Vinesh added.

Vinesh Phogat also slammed Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur for not taking any action and suppressing the matter by forming a committee.

“We ended our protest after talking to Union Sports Minister (Anurag Thakur), and all the athletes had told him about the sexual harassment. By forming a committee, he tried to suppress the matter there; no action was taken that time,” she said.

Wrestler Bajrang Punia addressed the allegations that they are protesting against new rules introduced for the selection for the Olympics.

“He (Brij Bhusan) is saying that we have made some rules for the Olympics and therefore these athletes are protesting; firstly, this is not about the Olympics, this is against sexual harassment. And if I talk about the Olympics rule; the federation will take trials of athletes coming from the Olympics, whoever they want,” he said. 

Earlier on Saturday, the WFI chief asserted that if he resigns, it would mean that he has accepted the allegations raised by the wrestlers.

Responding to the WFI chief’s remark, Vinesh Phogat said all they wanted was justice.

Delhi Police on Friday registered two FIRs against WFI president Singh over allegations of sexual harassment and exploitation of female wrestlers.

The BJP MP said 90 per cent of Haryana players stand with him while only one wrestling family continues to protest at Jantar Mantar.

Earlier on April 26, the wrestlers held a candle march at Jantar Mantar, urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to listen to their ‘Mann Ki Baat’.

While talking to the media, wrestler Sakshee Malikkh said, “We urge PM Modi to listen to our Mann Ki Baat. Even Smriti Irani ji is not listening to us. We are trying to show them the light through this candle march.” 

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