The Quint has accessed the Wrestling Federation of India's (WFI) reply to the Sports Ministry that they were asked to submit following the protest staged by Indian wrestlers at Delhi's Jantar Mantar, against the sexual harassment, mental harassment and financial misappropriation by the federation's president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
You can read the full text of the letter here.
While the eight page letter mainly addresses allegations of 'arbitrariness and mismanagement of WFI', it also denies all allegations of sexual harassment by the president.
'Not any single allegation of sexual harassment is accepted nor has ever been noticed nor found nor so far complained nor reported to sexual harassment committee to WFI,' the letter, signed by the federation's General Secretary VN Prasood says.
Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Deepak Punia and Ravi Dahiya were among the wrestlers who started their protest at Delhi's Jantar Mantar on Wednesday, demanding the resignation of Brij Bhushan, and also the dissolution of the WFI, along with all state associations.
The wrestlers claimed to have witnessed, and also have survivor accounts of instances of sexual harassment by Brij Bhushan, other members of the federation, and also the coaches appointed by the WFI.
In its reply, the WFI has called the protest "part of deeper and larger conspiracy for vested interest either by putting pressure on some weak wrestlers for vested interest or for gaining ground for themselves by maligning and defaming the management of WFI or its President or the Coaches and not otherwise".
WFI Claim to Have 'Sexual Harassment Committee'
According to the letter accessed by The Quint, the WFI claim to have a Sexual Harassment Committee, of which Sakshi Malik, one of the protesting wrestlers, is a member.
The letters says the committee comprises of V.N. Prasood (WFI's Secretary General), Jai Prakash (WFI's Jt. Secretary), Vishal Singh (WFI's Executive Member), Debendra Kumar Sahoo (WFI's Executive Member) and Sakshi Malik.
"The information about Sexual Harassment Committee of WFI is also already available on the website/portal of WFI public domain. Any aggrieved person/wrestler may approach the said committee for its grievances if any, which committee is bound to inquire as per law. However, no such complaint of any such nature as has been aired by the protestors/wrestlers has been received so far," says the letter, claiming to not have investigated any of the allegations made by the wrestlers as no complaint had been filed with the committee.
"Not any single allegation of sexual harassment is accepted nor has ever been noticed nor found nor so far complained nor reported to sexual harassment committee to WFI, hence allegations to that effect is equally malicious and unfounded without being any truth in the matter except to come to public through media for making soft target to the prestige of the present management of the WFI as well as the sitting President of WFI," the letter further adds.