Indian National Congress (INC) leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has extended support to the Indian wrestlers, who have been protesting against the Wrestling Federation of India’s (WFI) sidelined chief, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, by staging a dharna in New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar since 23 April.
Still awaiting an FIR registration against Singh, on whom sexual harassment charges have been levied and seven complaints have been lodged, the wrestlers have called out political bias in the probe procedure. Echoing the protestors’ sentiments, Vadra has now enquired if the ‘government is aiding the accused,’ via a tweet.
“Athletes are the pride of our nation. Why is the country proud of them? Because, despite all of their difficulties, after working tirelessly and enduring everything, when they win medals, we find our triumph in their victory. That is when the nation smiles,” the general secretary of the All India Congress Committee wrote.
“The victories of female athletes are more significant than anything else. They (female wrestlers) are sitting on the road right next to the Parliament, with tears in their eyes. No one is listening to their complaints against the exploitation that has been going on for a long time,” she added.
‘Does the Government Want to Aid the Accused,’ Enquires Vadra
The protests had initially started in January, but with the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MYAS) forming an oversight committee to probe, and assuring justice, the grapplers had decided to stall the dharna.
After three months of inactivity, the wrestlers have now claimed to have been made victims of politics, requesting support from all parties and khap panchayats to join their cause. Whilst the likes of Udit Raj and Bhupinder Singh Hooda from INC arrived at Jantar Mantar on 25 April to support the wrestlers, Vadra questioned the alleged external influence over Delhi Police.
“Who is influencing the Delhi Police? Why are the leaders of the opposition being questioned by the same police on recording the testimony of an agonised girl in the Bharat Jodo Yatra, but the pleas of the athletes who raise the country's honour are ignored,” she wrote.
These girls, with power in their arms but innocence at hearts, believed when the government told them that there would be an inquiry. Yet, the investigation did not happen. The question of punishment did not even arise. Does the government want to save the culprits? When the pride of a party and its leaders skyrockets, such voices are crushed. Let's support these sisters of ours. It is a matter of the honour of the country.Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has asked Delhi Police to furnish their response by 28 April, after the wrestlers had moved the apex court, seeking an FIR against Singh.