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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Indian wrestlers end protest over sexual harassment claims

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Leading Indian wrestlers have called off a sit-in protest near the parliament building after a government assurance that an investigation into their allegations of sexual harassment of young athletes by their federation president would be completed in four weeks.

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

The wrestlers and nearly 200 supporters held a sit-in protest for three days at Jantar Mantar accusing Brijbhushan Sharan Singh of sexually and mentally harassing young female athletes.

The protesters had sought the immediate removal of the Wrestling Federation of India president and other officials pending an inquiry against them.

Late on Friday, Indian sports minister Anurag Singh Thakur met protesting wrestlers for a second time and announced an investigation, 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 added.

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.”

The federation president is a legislator representing the governing Bharatiya Janata Party. He has denied the accusations and said he is ready to face any investigation.

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