Indian wrestlers end protest over sexual harassment

Jan 20, 2023, 8:32 AM | Updated: Jan 21, 2023, 12:47 am
Bajrang Punia, Indian wrestler who won a Bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, second left, part...

Bajrang Punia, Indian wrestler who won a Bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, second left, participates with other wrestlers in a protest against Wrestling Federation of India President Brijbhushan Sharan Singh and other officials in New Delhi, India, Friday, Jan. 20, 2023. Top Indian wrestlers on Saturday called off a sit-in protest near the parliament building following a government assurance that a probe into their allegations of sexual harassments of young athletes by the federation would be completed in four weeks. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

(AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

NEW DELHI (AP) — Top Indian wrestlers on Saturday called off a sit-in protest near the parliament building following a government assurance that a probe into their allegations of sexual harassments of young athletes by the federation would be completed in four weeks.

“We are ending our protest,” wrestler Bajrang Punia said.

The wrestlers and their nearly 200 supporters held a sit-in protest for three days at Jantar Mantar accusing the federation president of sexually and mentally harassing young female athletes. The protesters had sought the immediate removal of Wrestling Federation of India president Brijbhushan Sharan Singh and some other officials pending an inquiry against them.

Late Friday, Indian Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur met protesting wrestlers a second time and announced a probe into the accusations by the wrestlers and said it would would be completed in four weeks.

He also said the federation president “will step aside and help in carrying out the probe.”

“Until then, a committee will carry out day-to-day work of the Wrestling Federation of India,” he said.

Earlier, Punia wrote on Twitter that the government promised justice for the players.

“Thank the government on behalf of all my fellow players for taking our agitation and demands seriously,” he said. “Our fight is not with the government. We are all fighting against the players federation and its president.”

Singh, the federation president, is a lawmaker representing the governing Bharatiya Janata Party and has rejected the accusations and said he was ready to face any probe.

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Indian wrestlers end protest over sexual harassment