On Sunday, the protesting wrestlers referred to the Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) decision to take over all Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) operations as the “first step” in their struggle against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the outgoing WFI president.
The finest wrestlers in the nation, including Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, and Bajrang Punia, have been demonstrating at the Jantar Mantar for the past 22 days in support of Brij Bhushan’s arrest for allegedly harassing female wrestlers.
In a letter dated May 12 asking the WFI secretary general to provide official papers, including financial instruments, to its special panel, the IOA made it clear that the departing office holders would not be involved in the organization’s management.
The WFI claimed that because they were previously cooperating with the authorities, they have no problems following the IOA order.
“This is the first step in our quest for justice, the collapse of the current WFI. The Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Bajrang remarked, “Our fight has started in earnest; it’s a triumph for us… and we will continue to fight until we achieve justice.
Vinesh Phogat, a gold medalist from the Asian Games, lamented the absence of any female lawmakers from the ruling party who had met with the wrestlers “to extend support in our fight for the dignity of women.”
She stated that starting on Monday, the wrestlers will send handwritten or electronic messages requesting support to all female lawmakers from the ruling party.
“When they talk about the safety of women in the country, then we too are their daughters and they should come out and support us,” she said.
“We are writing an open letter to them (ruling party’s women parliamentarians) and our fellow wrestlers will deliver those letters by hand. We will also send letters via e-mail. We feel that our voice, our grievances, have not yet reached them… we feel that after they receive the letters they will come and support us,” added Vinesh.
Additionally, Vinesh asked the crowd assembled at Jantar Mantar to deliver a memorandum in favour of the wrestlers to each district headquarters on May 16th.
Vinesh continued, “We ask the people who are supporting us to also start a satyagraha andolan (nonviolent resistance) for just one day for the dignity of women.
The three-person ad hoc committee of the IOA has stated that the election of new WFI office bearers would be finished within the 45-day time constraint and that the responsibility will be returned to the elected body.
“Once the elections will be held, the administrative powers will go back to the WFI. The newly elected officials will run the show. It’s just a temporary move that ad-hoc is managing the affairs of the federation,” an official told.