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Sports Minister Anurag Thakur Assured Protesting Wrestlers of fresh elections which is to be held on June 30

Anurag Thakur, the Union Sports Minister, met with the protesting wrestlers on June 7 and informed them that the elections for the Wrestling Federation of India would take place by June 30. The wrestlers were also informed by Anurag Thakur that the police investigation into their claims of sexual harassment against former WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh will be finished by June 15 and that they would be updated on the probe’s progress at that time.

After spending many hours with the protesting wrestlers who wanted Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh’s arrest, the Union Sports Minister addressed the media that evening. Among the wrestlers that interacted with Anurag Thakur were Olympic medalists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia.

“I had a long 6-hour discussion with the wrestlers. We have assured wrestlers that the probe will be completed by 15th June and chargesheets will be submitted. The election of WFI will be done by 30th June,” Anurag Thakur said, adding that the wrestlers urged that Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has served three terms as WFI president, not be re-elected.

The media was also informed by Anurag Thakur that the wrestlers wouldn’t stage a protest till June 15. He added that the Wrestling Federation of India will establish an internal complaints body with a female chair.

“All FIRs against wrestlers should be taken back. Wrestlers also requested that Brij Bhushan Singh who has completed 3 terms and his associates should not be re-elected. Wrestlers will not hold any protest before 15th June,” the Sports Minister added.

Notably, this was the protesting wrestlers’ second encounter with a senior government official following their Saturday encounter with Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Sources claim that the wrestlers told the administration that their protest would last until June 15.

With the Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur providing the protesting athletes with clear timelines, the months-long impasse between the wrestlers and the government appears to be nearing to a conclusion.

Olympic bronze medallist Bajrang Punia said in a press conference following their meeting with the sports minister that they had asked the government to drop the FIRs that had been lodged against them during the protest.

“The government has assured us that police investigation will be completed before June 15. We have requested that all FIRs against wrestlers should be taken back and he has agreed to it. If no action is taken by 15th June, we will continue our protest,” he said.

After accusing WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual harassment, top Indian wrestlers have started protesting against him.

In January, the wrestlers started demonstrating at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Anurag Thakur, the sports minister, met with them at that time, and a commission to conduct an investigation was established. However, the wrestlers returned to the protest site last month after complaining that high officials had not responded properly and that MP Brij Bhushan had not been punished.

The Wrestling Federation of India was also threatened with suspension in May by the UWW if it did not give details regarding the anticipated next elective general assembly. After the Sports Ministry stopped the WFI and its operations in response to the original complaint by the wrestlers, a 45-day window was provided in January for the holding of the following election general assembly.

After expressing its dissatisfaction with the wrestlers’ temporary arrest at the protest site, the UWW also denounced the treatment of protestors during the rally.

On May 30, when the protesting wrestlers demanded immediate action against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, they also threatened to throw their medals into the Ganga.

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