The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has written to the Sports Ministry, denying the accusation of sexual harassment of women wrestlers by president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and coaches. The letter states, “Not even a single allegation of sexual harassment is accepted nor noticed, found, complained or reported to sexual harassment committee to WFI; hence the allegations made are malicious and unfounded.”
They said that the protesters at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar should not be taken seriously, and the way they are protesting and putting out these allegations by sitting on dharna and doing press conferences, this appears to be part of a conspiracy to defame management of WFI and/or its president or the coaches.
They even questioned the timing of the protests, “It would also be worth drawing attention that even the next election for the management of WFI is due soon for the year 2023,” WFI said in the letter.
The wrestling body further added, “The WFI is managed by the policy, rules, regulations, instructions of the WFI, the government of India, international body for the promotion of wrestling and as per its constitution and policy. This is not governed by whims and fancies of any individual office bearers, including the President of WFI, which are also mostly available in the public domain.”
The allegations of sexual harassment of women wrestlers were made by Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Ravi Dahiya and several others. They have been protesting for the last three days. They have alleged sexual harassment of women wrestlers by the WFI chief and its coaches. Questions of gross mismanagement in the functioning of the federation are also being raised with a demand for a complete overhaul of the WFI.
“The WFI, in particular, under the sitting president, has always acted keeping the best interests of wrestlers in mind,” the WFI said in its response to the sports ministry.
The WFI responded to the sports ministry on Friday evening through a letter after they were asked to respond within 72 hours regarding all the allegations made by the wrestlers.