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‘Request you with folded hands not to…’ Wrestler Vinesh Phogat to sister Babita

CWG and World Championships medalist, Vinesh Phogat and sister Babita broke into war of words over the ongoing protest by the wrestlers against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. In 2019, Babita Phogat and father Mahavir Phogat had joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In a tweet Vinesh requested her sister Babita to not weaken the movement. She wrote, “If you are not standing for the rights of aggrieved female wrestlers, Babita sister, I request you with folded hands not to weaken our movement. It has taken years for female wrestlers to speak up against their abusers. You are also a woman, try to understand our pain.”

Babita had earlier tweeted about Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s who visited Jantar Mantar on Saturday to meet the protesting wrestlers.

In the tweet, Babita wrote, “Priyanka Vadra reached Jantar Mantar with her personal secretary Sandeep Singh to seek justice for women wrestlers, but this person himself has been accused of misbehaving women and insulting a Dalit woman.” 

Babita had contested and lost in the last Haryana Assembly elections from BJP ticket.

Earlier one of the wrestler alleged they got ditched by Babita Phogat. On condition of anonymity the wrestler told IANS, “She (Babita) first forced us to sit on dharna, asked us that no political leader should come on dais. We listened to her every command and asked all the political leaders to not come meet us, but then she (Babita) politicised everything for her personal benefits and backstabbed us and left us here alone.”

During the last protest in January, Babita had visited the protest site from the government’s side for mediation. “Babita Phogat has come from the government’s side for mediation. We will speak with her and then give more details,” said Olympian wrestler Bajrang Punia had said. 

India’s top wrestlers including Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, and many other wrestlers are involved in the protest against the WFI chief. The wrestlers said that seven female wrestlers, including one minor, were harassed and exploited by Brij Bhushan in his capacity as WFI chief. On Friday, the Delhi Police registered two FIRs in the Connaught Place police station against Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is also a BJP MP. The first FIR pertains to allegations levelled by a minor victim, registered under POCSO Act along with relevant IPC sections concerning outraging of modesty.

The Delhi Police on Friday registered two FIRs in connection with sexual harassment allegations levelled by women wrestlers against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The first FIR pertains to allegations levelled by a minor which has been registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act along with relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code concerning outraging modesty. The second FIR has been registered for carrying out comprehensive investigations into the complaints by adult complainants under relevant IPC sections pertaining to outraging of modesty.

Addressing reporters at his residence in Bishnoharpur, about 40 km from Gonda city in Uttar Pradesh, WFI chief said Brij Bhushan Singh said, “I am completely innocent and have full faith in the Supreme Court and Delhi Police. I am ready to face any kind of investigation.

He also said “resigning as president of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is not a big deal for me, but I will not resign as a criminal.”

At Gonda, Singh took a strong exception to Vadra’s meeting with the wrestlers saying, “Today it has been seen who is behind this controversy. I have been saying from the beginning that an industrialist and the Congress have a hand in this. They are upset with me.” He, however, did not elaborate.

“I’m not a criminal. Resigning means I have accepted their allegations,” Singh said.

Punia also claimed they were being harassed by Delhi Police. “Last night, they cut our power supply, did not let us bring food and water and even mattresses and takhtas (wooden cots). Even one of the workers, who brought these things to the protest site, has not reached home. The police is not treating the athletes well. “Is this the honour of the country’s athletes? What’s the point of winning those medals if we had to face all these?” he asked.


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