Wednesday, April 24, 2024

“Will remain till Brij Bhushan goes to jail”: Wrestlers to PT Usha

Indian Olympic Association president PT Usha on Wednesday met wrestlers camped at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar for 11 days to flag sexual assault allegations against Wrestling Federation of India chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Singh.

Usha who earlier criticised the wrestlers left without speaking to media gathered at the protest site but prominent wrestler Bajrang Punia told reporters later she had vowed support.

“PT Usha met us and assured her support. She said she is first an athlete and then an administrator. She assured she will help us in getting justice. We will remain here till Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh goes to jail,” Punia, an Olympic medal-winning athlete, said.

“PT Usha said she was misinterpreted,” Punia said on Usha’s comment about the protesting wrestlers’ lack of discipline.

PT Usha earlier declared the wrestlers’ public display amounted to ‘indiscipline’ and that their actions were ‘tarnishing image of India’.

The remark triggered a furious response from the wrestlers and opposition politicians.

“Being a woman athlete, she is not listening to other women athletes. We have followed her since childhood and (were) inspired by her. Where is (the) indiscipline here…” asked renowned wrestler Sakshi Malik.

Vinash Phogat, a medallist at the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships called PT Usha’s comments ‘insensitive.’

Last week, the Delhi Police have finally agreed to file a first information report (FIR) after the wrestlers approached the Supreme Court. Chief Justice DY Chandrachud deemed the wrestlers’ accusations as ‘serious’, and as a result, two FIRs were eventually filed against Brij Bhushan Singh, who has repeatedly denied the allegations made by the wrestlers.

While Punia considered the FIRs as the ‘first significant victory’ in their quest for justice, others cautioned that they would continue to protest until their grievances were addressed.

Malik stated that they would not discontinue their dharna until Brij Bhushan was arrested, and the FIR was just the first step. “We are here for the long battle,” she added.

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