India's biggest wrestlers continued their sit-in protest against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh who they claim has been sexually harassing female wrestlers.
The protest reached its third day on Friday even though Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat all met Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Thursday night at his residence in New Delhi.
The Sports Ministry had given Brij Bhushan a 72-hour deadline to reply to the allegations, which ends later today. The six-time Lok Sabha BJP MP has called for a press conference in his home constituency of Gonda and is expected to speak at 5pm IST.
However, earlier in the day, while attending an event in the city, Bhushan made his intentions very clear, saying, "there is no question of resigning. I have not spoken with the Prime Minister's Office and Home Minister."
While announcing the evening's press conference on his social media, Bhushan also claimed he will 'expose political conspiracy' behind the wrestlers' move.
"The protesting players have become a toy in the hands of Congress and Deepinder Hooda. This type of conspiracy was done against me by the Congress almost three decades ago. Once again the conspiracy has been repeated," he said to a TV channel earlier in the day.
"I had earlier said that there was a conspiracy, and big powers are behind it. Now those forces are coming out in the open. The picture becomes more clear with the tweets and statements by Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Deepinder Hooda. This attack is not only on me, but on the Bharatiya Janata Party through me," Singh added.
Players File Official Complaint With IOA
The protesting wrestlers arrived at the Jantar Mantar by 12 noon on Friday as they were in a meeting before that, following which they released the letter of complaint they had sent to the Indian Olympic Association chief PT Usha.
The letter signed by Bajrang, Vinesh, Sakshi, Ravi Dahiya, and Deepak demanded the resignation of the WFI chief and the formation of an inquiry committee on the allegations of sexual harassment.
The letter further states that Vinesh was mentally harassed and tortured by the WFI President after she missed out on an Olympic medal in Tokyo, which led her to almost contemplate suicide.
They listed out four demands to the IOA, requesting to immediately appoint a committee to enquire into the complaints of sexual harassment. They asked for the dissolution of the WFI and the resignation of the WFI President. They also demanded a new committee to be formed to run the affairs of the WFI in consultation with the wrestlers.