Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik, who is among the many Indian wrestlers protesting against the Wrestling Federation of India's (WFI) sidelined chief, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, has accused the Sports Ministry-formed oversight committee of expressing superficial sympathy and shedding crocodile tears, whilst recording their testimonies.
Eminent Indian wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia, levied allegations of sexual harassment on Singh in January, by organising a dharna in New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. While the protests were initially stalled when the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MYAS) formed an oversight committee, assuring the protestors of a probe, grapplers have once again decided to resume their dharna after three months of inactivity.
Speaking exclusively to The Quint on the third day since the protest resumption, Sakshi Malik alleged the use of external influence by Singh, against whom an FIR is yet to be registered – despite seven complaints being lodged at the Connaught Place police station.
“He is from the ruling party (Bharatiya Janata Party). We are wrestlers, not politicians – we don’t know much about the internal political affairs. But surely, there is (external) support (for Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh). That is the reason why an FIR has not been registered yet,” Sakshi said.
Further alleging bias from the oversight committee, she added “The female members of the committee started tearing up while hearing our testimonies. They assured us of getting justice, where is that justice now? Sources inform us that their report did not mention anything about our statements – so were your tears fake?”
They Played Politics, We Will Not Trust Them Again: Sakshi Malik
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA), meanwhile, have confirmed that they will be forming an ad-hoc committee to look after WFI’s affairs, besides also conducting fresh elections for a new executive committee.
Sakshi, alongside other wrestlers, albeit, are firm in their stance of not trusting the same organisations for the second time.
They are serving us with the same narrative – that they will form a committee, and the WFI will be run by the IOA. We cannot trust anyone now because we did last time, and 3 months have been wasted. The federation is still running as it used to, he’s (Brij Bhushan) operating as he used to.Sakshi Malik, while speaking to The Quint
On being asked about the procedure of recording testimonies, Sakshi revealed further bias by stating “Our testimonies were taken in front of the lawyer and recorded on camera but when Brij Bhushan spoke to the Committee, there was no lawyer. No one knows if it was even recorded. His testimony was taken according to his convenience.”
“Last time, they played politics with us. This time, we will not end the protest till something is given in writing. We are fighting for the truth, and while it might take time, truth always wins in the end,” she concluded.