"Will Go To Asian Games Only If...": Wrestlers' Ultimatum To Government

The protesting wrestlers, including Sakshee Malikkh and Bajrang Punia, held a Mahapanchayat with Khap leaders in Haryana's Sonipat today.

'Will Go To Asian Games Only If...': Wrestlers' Ultimatum To Government
New Delhi:

India's top wrestlers protesting against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over sexual harassment charges have threatened to boycott the Asian Games this year if their demands are not met.

"We will participate in the Asian Games only when all these issues will be resolved. You can't understand what we're going through mentally each day," said 2016 Olympics medal-winning wrestler Sakshee Malikkh.

The protesting wrestlers, including Ms Malikkh and Bajrang Punia, held a Mahapanchayat with Khap leaders in Haryana's Sonipat today.  Mr Punia said that the wrestlers will share the details of their discussions with the government with the Khap leaders at the Mahapanchayat.

On reports of disunity among the wrestlers, Ms Malikkh said, "I want to make one thing clear, I, Bajrang, and Vinesh (Phogat) are one and will remain one."

After a five-hour meeting on Wednesday, Union minister Anurag Thakur presented a written proposal to the protesting wrestlers. The proposal assured the wrestlers of an investigation into the wrestling federation chief by June 15, but did not mention his arrest.

"After June 15, we will decide where to start the protest again," added Ms Malikkh.

The wrestlers have been protesting in the national capital for over two months. They are demanding the removal and arrest of wrestling federation chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has been accused of sexual harassment.

The Delhi Police on Friday took a woman wrestler to the office of the wrestling body chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, as part of its investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against him. The wrestler was accompanied by a team of women police officers.

Mr Singh's official residence houses the office of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

The wrestler was accompanied by women police personnel. They arrived at the WFI office at 1:30 PM and spent half an hour there. During this time, the wrestler was asked to recreate the scene of the alleged harassment and recall the places where she felt harassed.

Hours after the police left, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, who was among those leading the protest, took to Twitter to express her disappointment at media reports that claimed that the wrestlers had reached the WFI office for a compromise.

"This is the power of Brij Bhushan. He is harassing women wrestlers by using his muscle power, political power and running false narratives, and his arrest is necessary. If the police arrests him instead of breaking us, there is hope for justice, otherwise not. Women wrestlers had gone to the crime scene for police investigation, but it was flashed in the media that they had gone for a compromise," she tweeted in Hindi.

As part of the ongoing probe into the allegations, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) has questioned more than 180 people, the police said.