India’s top wrestlers have called off their protest against their federation late on Friday night after getting assurances from the government that their grievances would be addressed, the first step of which was the stepping aside of under-fire Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
This happened after a breakthrough was achieved during a second round of talks with union sports minister Anurag Thakur, and was announced via a press conference at the minister’s residence.
“It has been decided that an oversight committee will be formed. Names for which will be announced tomorrow. The committee will complete its investigation within four weeks. It will thoroughly probe all the allegations be it financial or sexual harassment that have been levelled against WFI and its chief,” Thakur said after the marathon meeting.
“The Committee will enquire into the allegations made by prominent sportspersons of sexual misconduct, financial irregularities and administrative lapses; Undertake day-to-day administration of the WFI; Revisit the issues raised by players,” read a statement from the Ministry. “The Oversight Committee will complete the enquiry in 4 weeks and till then, WFI President will step aside from the day- to- day functioning and he has assured to cooperate in the investigation.”
The wrestlers, who have been sitting in protest since Wednesday at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, had held a round of talks with the minister on Thursday but had continued their protest after what they said was an “unsatisfactory” response. On Friday they had put their complaint in writing and submitted it to the Indian Olympic Association president, PT Usha, before meeting Thakur again in the evening.
Before Thakur’s announcement, Usha had announced that the IOA had formed a 7-member committee to investigate the complaint.