“Wrestling Chief To Step Aside Till Probe Over”: Minister On #MeToo Charge

Sports Minister Anurag Thakur met athletes for seven hours

New Delhi:
Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur told reporters today that BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh will walk away from the Wrestling Federation of India for four weeks during which a monitoring committee will probe the sexual harassment allegations against him.

Here’s Your 10-Point Cheatsheet for This Big Story

  1. After a meeting that lasted seven hours and ended past midnight, Mr. Thakur, accompanied by some of India’s most famous wrestlers, assured a press conference that the government would support the wrestlers every step of the way in their fight.

  2. Thakur said, “An inspection committee will be constituted. It will take four weeks to submit the report. Any allegation, be it sexual harassment or financial impropriety, we will probe and investigate deeply. We will take action after that.” “

  3. After meeting Thakur, the wrestlers called off their protest against the alleged sexual harassment and misappropriation of funds.

  4. Thakur said, “Till the probe is completed, a committee will look after the day-to-day functioning (of the Wrestling Federation of India)… I thank the athletes for speaking to me.”

  5. Olympic medalist Bajrang Punia said the minister has assured that he is with the wrestlers at every step. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also always supported our athletes,” Punia said.

  6. The Indian Olympic Association has also announced a seven-member panel to probe the allegations against Mr Singh. The panel will have athletes Mary Kom, Dola Banerjee, Alaknanda Ashok, Yogeshwar Dutt and Sahdev Yadav as members.

  7. Mr Singh has denied the allegations and refused to resign. “If I say there will be a tsunami…I am not here because of someone’s charity. I have been elected by the people,” he told reporters in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda.

  8. Earlier, Mr. Thakur had called up Mr. Singh and cautioned him against making any statement in front of the media.

  9. Ahead of the meeting on Friday night, the wrestlers had sent a letter to PT Usha, the head of the Indian Olympic body, demanding action against Mr Singh.

  10. In their letter to Ms Usha, the wrestlers said, “Vinesh Phogat was mentally tortured and tortured by the WFI chief after she missed out on an Olympic medal in Tokyo.” Ms Phogat has agreed to reveal the identities of sexual assault victims to the Indian Olympic Association committee.