Indian wrestler accuses govt of silence over harassment probe


An Olympic wrestler on Saturday criticised the tempo of a police inquiry into sexual harassment accusations towards the chief of India’s nationwide wrestling physique.

Vinesh Phogat, a two-time Olympian who has accused Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexually abusing her, stated she has additionally been damage by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on the problem.

Phogat is considered one of seven feminine athletes to have lodged a police case towards Singh accusing him of sexually harassing them.

Singh, who can also be a federal lawmaker from Modi’s ruling social gathering, has denied allegations of constructing sexual advances, groping and threatening feminine athletes in the event that they refused to satisfy him alone.

“I’ve solely felt a deep sense of humiliation since I mustered the braveness to protest,” Phogat instructed Reuters in her first interview since she and fellow wrestlers had been compelled out of a protest website by the police final month.

Delhi Police have filed two circumstances towards Singh, together with one below the Safety of Kids from Sexual Offences Act.

Learn extra: High Indian athletes lend assist to wrestler protest

Phogat, 28, who’s the primary Indian feminine wrestler to win each the Commonwealth Video games and Asian Video games gold, claims that in coaching camps and tournaments Singh would use “each doable method to single out younger athletes and grope them repeatedly”.

“It was the identical disgusting sample over and over and I’m among the many victims,” she stated at her residence in northern Haryana state.

In her police criticism, seen by Reuters, Phogat stated she contemplated suicide after the “psychological trauma” however felt reinvigorated after a 2021 assembly with Modi, who promised to look into the complaints by the feminine wrestlers.

“It has been emotionally draining, the PM has not stated something about this case,” Phogat stated.

She stated the accusers had additionally complained to Sports activities Minister Anurag Thakur in “larger element”.

“However he (Thakur) was not simply fascinated by listening to my issues…he was busy on his telephone once I was speaking to him,” stated Phogat.

Thakur and Modi’s workplace weren’t instantly accessible for remark.

A lawyer and shut aide to Singh stated all of the allegations had been faux and fabricated by girls to tarnish the chief’s profession.

“The truth that nobody was listening to us compelled me and others to start out a public protest as we wished the nation to know the way high athletes had been being mistreated,” Phogat stated.

The wrestlers took to the streets in January however withdrew the protest after Singh was stripped of all administrative energy on the WFI.

They resumed their protest on April 23, however a number of of them had been briefly detained and the protest website was forcibly cleared on Could 28.

Photos of the athletes being dragged away and carried off in buses went viral, sparking criticism from high athletes and opposition politicians.

The wrestlers additionally threatened to throw their medals into the Ganges – India’s holiest river – earlier than agreeing to assembly with Dwelling Minister Amit Shah and later with the sports activities minister.

Thakur subsequently stated the police would full their investigation by June 15 and requested the wrestlers to not exhibit till then.

“We wished Singh to be dragged out of his dwelling, however as a result of he’s a robust man he’s roaming round and we’re being instructed to take a seat at dwelling,” an emotional Phogat stated.

Singh is scheduled to carry a public rally in his political constituency on Sunday.

The Worldwide Olympic Committee has condemned the detainment of the wrestlers and criticised the “lack of outcomes” within the investigation.

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