Wrestlers’ sexual harassment charges | Heads must roll and PM Modi should speak up, says Congress

Congress’ attack comes after shocking accusations by star wrestler Vinesh Phogat that WFI president Singh has been sexually exploiting women wrestlers for years

January 19, 2023 04:18 pm | Updated 05:03 pm IST - New Delhi

Banjrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and other wrestlers during a protest against WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on January 19, 2023.

Banjrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and other wrestlers during a protest against WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on January 19, 2023. | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi should break his “silence” on the allegations of sexual exploitation against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the Congress said on January 19.

The party questioned the reason for the delay in taking the resignations of those person against whom serious allegations of sexual harassment have been made by renowned wrestlers.

Also read: Wrestlers continue silent sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar against WFI president

The attack by the Congress comes after shocking accusations by star wrestler Vinesh Phogat on January 18 that WFI president Singh has been sexually exploiting women wrestlers for years. The charge was, however, categorically rejected by Mr. Singh.

“Our players are the pride of the country. They bring laurels to the country by their performance at the world level. The players have made serious allegations of exploitation against the Wrestling Federation of India and its president. Their voices should be heard, their allegations must be investigated and appropriate action must be taken,” Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted.

Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh also took to Twitter to ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi “why all those who oppress women are members of the BJP”.

“Kuldeep Sengar, Chinmayanand, father-son duo Vinod Arya and Pulkit Arya... and now this new case! The list of BJP leaders committing atrocities against women is endless. Mr. PM, was ‘Beti Bachao’ a warning to save daughters from BJP leaders? India is waiting for an answer,” Mr. Ramesh tweeted.

Also read: Sexual harassment charges by wrestlers | Divya Kakran defends WFI chief Brij Bhushan

“Yesterday, you said that a better environment has been created for sports in the past eight years. Is this the ‘better environment’, in which even our daughters who bring laurels to the country are unsafe?” he added, referring to a speech of Mr. Modi on Jan. 18 in which the Prime Minister had said that “a better environment for sports has been created and now more children and youths are looking at sports as a career option”.

Addressing a press conference at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters in New Delhi, Congress’ media department head Pawan Khera said Mr. Singh’s resignation should have come on Jan. 18 itself.

“That should have been the first step. Had it been any other sensitive government, it should have happened immediately,” Mr. Khera said, adding “The Sports Minister [Anurag Thakur] should speak out. The Prime Minister should speak out, there should be resignations, and heads should roll immediately. This should have happened long back, 24 hours is too long a time. The silence is more shocking than what has happened.”

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