Wrestlers call off protest after Sports Minister forms probe committee; Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh to step aside from day-to-day role

Bajrang Punia, addressing the media, confirmed that the wrestlers are calling off their protest at Jantar Mantar after being given assurances by the Government and the Sports Ministry.

Wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and others protesting against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) arrive at the residence of Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, in New Delhi on Friday.

Wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and others protesting against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) arrive at the residence of Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, in New Delhi on Friday. | Photo Credit: ANI

Bajrang Punia, addressing the media, confirmed that the wrestlers are calling off their protest at Jantar Mantar after being given assurances by the Government and the Sports Ministry.

Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and other ace Indian wrestlers who have been sitting in protest at Jantar Mantar for three days have called off their protest after a meeting with Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur.

“We are calling off the protest as the government has assured us that justice will be done,” Punia told reporters on Saturday.

“A decision has been taken to form a committee to handle day-to-day function and look into our concerns. The Sports Minister has said that player safety is his prerogative as players have received threats from the federation before. The Minister has conveyed his support to us at every step of the way. Our sport has come very far and we didn’t want this protest either but things got so out of hand that we had to take a step like this,” he added.

“We thank everyone for supporting us,” Punia said.

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After the meeting with protesting wrestlers, Thakur announced that federation president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh will step aside.

“Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh will step aside from day-to-day functioning of the federation and comply with the investigation. A committee has been instituted to aid the same. The names of those in the committee will be announced later,” Thakur told reporters gathered outside his residence, where the minister met the wrestlers.

An Oversight Committee will be set up by the Ministry for the Wrestling Federation of India, an official statement from the Sports Minister said. The Committee will enquire into the allegations made by prominent sportspersons of sexual misconduct, financial irregularities and administrative lapses and undertake day-to-day administration of the WFI.

This committee is to complete its enquiry in four weeks during which Singh has assured cooperation in the investigation.

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