Several prominent Indian wrestlers are calling for an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against the head of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), amid a days-long protest in New Delhi.
The wrestlers are also calling for the dismissal of the president and the dissolution of the International Federation of Industries.
In a letter addressed to the President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) W Subscribed on Twitterfive wrestlers say that “many young wrestlers” have filed serious complaints of “sexual harassment” against IBF President Prej Bhushan Charan Singh.
The wrestlers have been protesting for the past three days in the Indian capital, New Delhi, and have attended several meetings with senior government officials.
Olympic wrestler Finch Fogat, along with four others, said they are speaking on behalf of the accused to protect their identity and have not publicly disclosed details of the young wrestlers’ accusations.
In the letter, Fugate herself says she was “mentally harassed and tortured by the WFI President” and says she “nearly committed suicide” because of the stress she was under.
CNN has reached out to the Federation of Industries for comment, and Vinod Tomar, the Federation’s assistant secretary, has denied all accusations.
“The investigation is ongoing,” Tomar added. “These are only allegations and they have not yet been proven.”
CNN also reached out to the WFI president and his office declined to comment at the time.
The federation also postponed a press conference scheduled for Friday.
Meanwhile, the president of the IOA expresses her support for the protesting wrestlers. PT Osha tweet Thursday The welfare of the athletes was a top priority.
“We are asking athletes to come forward and raise their concerns with us. We will ensure a full investigation is conducted to ensure justice,” she added.
In the letter, Phogat and her fellow wrestlers said, “It took a lot of courage for the wrestlers to come together” and make their grievances against Singh, who is a member of India’s Parliament with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
“We fear for our lives,” they added.
Phogat, the first Indian wrestler to win gold at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, tweet Wed“The players want self-respect,” adding that “if the federation does not support them, morale will collapse.”
India’s sports ministry has asked the AIFF to respond to the allegations within 72 hours, India’s sports minister Anurag Thakur told local reporters on Thursday.
in statement on TwitterPolitician Babita Kumari Phogat, a former wrestler and three-time Commonwealth Games medalist, said she stands with her fellow wrestlers.
“I am with my players in this fight. I am fully confident that the government will do justice to the country’s athletes who are raising the honor of the country in the world.”