The United World Wrestling (UWW), the global governing body for wrestling, came out with a strong statement condemning the “treatment and detention of the wrestlers” in India.
This comes on a day that India’s world-class wrestlers like Rio 2016 bronze medallist Sakshi Malik, Tokyo 2020 medallist Bajrang Punia and world championship medallist Vinesh Phogat announced that their medals will be immersed in River Ganga as part of their ongoing demand to have Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh arrested. The wrestlers who had been protesting at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar since April 23, have claimed that he sexually harassed and abused many women wrestlers.
“For several months, United World Wrestling has followed with great concern the situation in India where wrestlers are protesting over allegations of abuse and harassment by the President of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI),” the statement said.
It added: “UWW will request further information about the next elective general assembly from the IOA and the Ad-hoc Committee of the WFI. The 45-day deadline that was initially set to hold this elective assembly shall be respected. Failing to do so may lead UWW to suspend the federation, thereby forcing the athletes to compete under a neutral flag. It is reminded that UWW already took a measure in this situation by reallocating the Asian Championship planned in New Delhi earlier this year.”
“The events of these last days are even more worrying that the wrestlers were arrested and temporarily detained by the police for initiating a march of protest. The site where they had been protesting for more than a month has also been cleared out by the authorities,” wrote UWW.
“UWW firmly condemns the treatment and detention of the wrestlers. It expresses its disappointment over the lack of results of the investigations so far. UWW urges the relevant authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the allegations,” read the statement.
The top body also said that it will hold a meeting with the wrestlers to inquire about their condition and safety and reconfirm our support for a fair and just resolution of their concerns.