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Back in January, India’s top wrestlers including Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia held a protest outside Jantar Mantar against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. They accused him of manhandling and sexually harassing female wrestlers. Vinesh and Sakshi alleged that female wrestlers have been sexually harassed by coaches at national camps.
The wrestlers, who have won several accolades for the nation, resumed their protest and for the past couple of days have gathered yet again at Jantar Mantar demanding action against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
Their slogan – “Brij ko giraftaar karo, sarkaar ki dadagiri nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi.”
Apparently, the female wrestlers who had spoken up against the WFI chief are receiving threats. According to Outlook, the wrestlers are not being allowed to practice in the area of the protest and are being stopped by the police. They are also not allowed to take food inside.
“We have tournaments lined up (Asian Games), we tried to train today in the morning here (on Wednesday, April 26). We got training mats. But the police didn’t allow us to bring them in,” Bajrang Punia said.
What’s disappointing to see is the lack of support coming from other renowned national sportspersons. None of our leading cricketers have raised their voices in support of the wrestlers or condemned the authorities for the lack of action in this case.
However, Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra stood in solidarity with the wrestlers. He took to social media to share an important note asking the authorities to take appropriate steps in the matter.
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“It hurts me to see our athletes on the streets demanding justice. They have worked hard to represent our great nation and make us proud. As a nation, we are responsible for safeguarding the integrity and dignity of every individual, athlete or not. What’s happening should never happen. This is a sensitive issue, and must be dealt with in an impartial and transparent manner. Pertaining authorities must take quick action in order to ensure that justice is served,” he wrote.
— Neeraj Chopra (@Neeraj_chopra1) April 28, 2023
Several people lauded Neeraj Chopra for having a spine and the courage to support his fellow Indian athletes. Here’s what some of them said:
Full power to you! Thank you for standing for what is right.
— VINTA NANDA (@vintananda) April 28, 2023
You are hero on and off the track.. Kudos !!!
— Vicky (@Vickysharma1804) April 28, 2023
Someone with a spine. Thanks. 🙏
— Navpreet Singh (@Navikang93) April 28, 2023
The man with spine and dignity, thank you @Neeraj_chopra1!
— Guneet Gudh (@gudh) April 28, 2023
Neeraj bhai aapka medal hi nahi aap bhi Gold ho.❤️
— Dr. JANGO (@doctor_jango) April 28, 2023
We hope other sportspersons are inspired by Chopra and follow suit.
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