Wrestlers meet Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, put agitation on hold for a week
Bajrang Punia said he is satisfied with the outcome of the meeting with Thakur, but quickly added that the protests will resume if the government fails to deliver on its promise.
NEW DELHI: Top protesting wrestlers on Wednesday agreed to suspend their agitation after Sports Minister Anurag Thakur assured them that the police probe into sexual harassment charges against sidelined Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh will be wrapped up by June 15.
“We had a very positive discussion with the protesting wrestlers... They demanded that the investigation be concluded and a chargesheet be filed by June 15. This demand was agreed by consensus,” Thakur said after having a six-hour-long discussion with the wrestler delegation.
#WATCH | I had a long 6-hour discussion with the wrestlers. We have assured wrestlers that the probe will be completed by 15th June and chargesheets will be submitted. The election of WFI will be done by 30th June: Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur after meeting wrestlers pic.twitter.com/9hySRefxNM— ANI (@ANI) June 7, 2023
This was the second meeting between the government and the wrestlers in a week. The grapplers met Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday.
On Wednesday, the wrestlers including Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik met Thakur and raised five demands, including the appointment of a woman WFI chief and the scrapping of FIRs against them for violation of law and order on May 28.
“In the meeting, it was suggested by the wrestlers that the WFI elections be held by June 30 and an Internal Complaints Committee of WFI be formed that should be headed by a woman,” Thakur said, adding all of them agreed. “Also, two names of coaches were suggested by the wrestlers who will be part of the ad-hoc committee for technical assistance,” he added.
The minister said all decisions were taken unanimously, adding the wrestlers also demanded that Singh, who has completed three terms as president, and his associates not be allowed to participate in the election process.
Bajrang Punia said he is satisfied with the outcome of the meeting with Thakur, but quickly added that the protests will resume if the government fails to deliver on its promise. Vinesh Phogat, who had been spearheading the protest at the Jantar Mantar since April 23, skipped Wednesday’s meeting.