International Wrestling Body Condemns Detention of Wrestlers In India

United World Wrestling (UWW), the international wrestling body, has strongly criticized the detention and treatment of wrestlers who were involved in a scuffle with the Delhi Police on May 28. In a statement, UWW expressed concern over the recent events, stating that it is “even more worrying” that the wrestlers were arrested and temporarily detained for organizing a protest march.

The wrestling body voiced its disappointment with the lack of progress in the investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment made against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP. UWW called on the authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the matter.

UWW also pledged to hold a meeting with the wrestlers to assess their condition and safety, reaffirming their support for a fair and just resolution of the wrestlers’ concerns. Additionally, UWW reminded the federation that the previously set 45-day deadline for holding an elective assembly must be respected. Failure to do so could result in UWW suspending the federation, which would force the athletes to compete under a neutral flag. UWW had already taken action earlier this year by reallocating the Asian Championship, which was initially planned to be held in New Delhi.

Last month, Nenad Lalovic, the President of UWW, sent a letter to the WFI, seeking clarity on the management of the sport in India. Copies of the letter were also sent to PT Usha, the President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), and J Poivey, an official from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In response, the WFI complained of government interference in their affairs.

Picture : The New Indian

The wrestlers who are protesting against sexual harassment had planned to discard their medals into the Ganga River, a sacred river in India, as a symbol of their ongoing protest. However, their action was postponed after Naresh Tikait, a prominent farm union leader, intervened and persuaded them against doing so. The protest, led by Olympic medalist Sakshi Malik, world championships medalist Vinesh Phogat, and Olympic medalist Bajrang Punia, is aimed at raising awareness about the issue and demanding justice.

On Tuesday evening, the aggrieved wrestlers gathered on the banks of the river in the city of Haridwar, clutching their medals and surrounded by a crowd. Tearfully, they reconsidered their decision after Naresh Tikait arrived at the site and convinced them to give the government five more days to respond to their demands.

UWW’s condemnation of the treatment of the protesting wrestlers and its call for a thorough investigation highlight the international wrestling body’s commitment to protecting the rights and well-being of athletes. The wrestlers’ decision to postpone their symbolic gesture indicates their hope for a positive response from the government within the given timeframe. The ongoing protest serves as a reminder of the importance of addressing and combating issues such as sexual harassment in the world of sports.

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