The sexual harassment scandal within the Indian Wrestling Federation has not only exposed the dark side of the sport but also highlighted the challenges faced by victims seeking justice.
Wrestler Sakshi Malik with supporters during the wrestlers’ protest against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, Sunday, May 14, 2023. (PTI)
In a shocking revelation, the Indian Wrestling Federation (WFI) finds itself entangled in a sexual harassment scandal involving its president, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. As brave women wrestlers come forward with allegations of misconduct, their voices have been unjustly suppressed, and the matter has been hijacked by politicians. This article delves into the distressing situation and the challenges faced by those seeking justice.
The allegations against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, a prominent figure in Indian wrestling, have sent shockwaves through the sports community. The accusations of sexual harassment have exposed the dark underbelly of a sport that has otherwise celebrated countless victories.
“We have two demands that have to be met —the arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and a clean-up of the federation with new members”, said Rio Olympics bronze medal-winning wrestler Sakshi Malik.
When women wrestlers got the courage, they spoke up. And against such a powerful and well-connected person like Brij Bhushan, to say that he was involved (in sexual harassment) requires a lot of courage. We decided that it was time to speak up about sexual harassment, she told Indian Express in an interview.
“When women wrestlers got the courage, they spoke up. And against such a powerful and well-connected person like Brij Bhushan, to say that he was involved (in sexual harassment) requires a lot of courage. We decided that it was time to speak up about sexual harassment”, Sakshi Malik added.
For years, women wrestlers within the WFI have silently endured harassment, fearing the repercussions of speaking out. However, the courage of a few individuals has emboldened others to share their experiences, revealing a distressing pattern of abuse. These victims, fueled by the hope for justice, came forward to shed light on the pervasive issue within the federation.
Hijacked by Politicians
Unfortunately, instead of receiving the support they deserve, the voices of the victims have been overshadowed by political maneuvering. What should have been a movement driven by the quest for justice has been hijacked by opportunistic politicians seeking to exploit the situation for personal gain. The focus has shifted from the victims’ plight to political point-scoring and mudslinging.
To further silence the victims, several tactics have been employed. The Oversight Committee, which was entrusted with investigating the allegations, has been accused of dragging its feet and failing to provide concrete outcomes. The victims have faced bureaucratic indifference, unanswered calls, and an overall lack of urgency in addressing their concerns.
The victims have two fundamental demands: the immediate arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and a comprehensive restructuring of the WFI, ensuring the inclusion of new members untainted by the scandal. These demands reflect the wrestlers’ determination to root out the culture of harassment and create a safer environment for future generations.
Despite the challenges faced, the victims have garnered widespread support from within the wrestling community and beyond. Wrestlers, athletes, and advocates for women’s rights have rallied behind them, recognizing the urgency of the issue and the need for immediate action.
The victims have expressed their faith in the judicial system and the hope that a fair investigation will be conducted. They demand a thorough examination of the allegations, taking into account the testimonies and experiences of the brave women who have come forward.
The sexual harassment scandal within the Indian Wrestling Federation has not only exposed the dark side of the sport but also highlighted the challenges faced by victims seeking justice. The voices of these courageous women must not be silenced or hijacked by politicians for personal gain. It is imperative that the allegations are investigated thoroughly, and the perpetrators are held accountable. Only then can the WFI begin to rebuild its reputation and provide a safe and inclusive environment for all athletes.
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