New Delhi: Pritam Munde, a member of the BJP, highlighted the need to listen to any complaint made by the female wrestlers in reaction to the ongoing demonstrations by wrestlers calling for the arrest of former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over claims of sexual harassment. 

BJP MLA Pritam Munde
Image Courtesy: @DrPritamMunde/Twitter

Speaking to reporters in Maharashtra’s Beed district, Munde stated that authorities should verify the complaints and subsequently determine their credibility. She expected appropriate action to be taken in the present case.

Prominent wrestlers, including Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, and Sangeeta Phogat, who have achieved medals in the Olympics and World Championships, have been staging protests in New Delhi. 

They call for the detention of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is charged with harassing many female wrestlers, including a minor, sexually.

Munde, while addressing the issue, remarked, “Not as a member of Parliament, but as a woman, I believe that if any woman makes such a complaint, it should be taken into consideration. The complaint should undergo verification.” 

She further advocated for the appropriate authorities to determine its validity. Munde stressed that neglecting to acknowledge such complaints was unacceptable in a democratic society.

“This case’s significance is now recognized on a worldwide level. People could assume that if I asked for an investigation committee, it was merely a publicity stunt. Munde, a Beed Lok Sabha representative, stated “I anticipate prompt action in this case.”

Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur advised the wrestlers to have patience and trust in the Supreme Court, the Sports Ministry, and the Delhi Police in response to their threat to submerge their medals in the Ganga. 

The Delhi Police made it clear on Wednesday that the cases brought by the female wrestlers were still being looked at and that status updates were being sent to the court. 

Brijbhusan Sharan Singh
Image Source: @b_bhusansharan/Twitter

They stated that it would be inappropriate to comment before the report was presented to the court. Notably, the police deleted three tweets related to the case. 

Regarding this matter, several political parties have stepped up their criticism of the government. Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal, took part in a demonstration against the alleged exploitation of wrestlers at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Sunday in Kolkata. 

The Congress party also criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi, questioning why he did not appeal to the protesting wrestlers to refrain from discarding their medals in the Ganga.

Expressing concern over the treatment of the protesting Indian wrestlers by the Delhi Police, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) called it “very disturbing.” The IOC emphasized the need for an impartial criminal investigation to address the wrestlers’ allegations.

In response to the accusations, BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh asserted on Wednesday that he would take his own life if even a single allegation against him was proven true.

Wrestlers protest so far

Wrestlers are intensifying their demands for the arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president and Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Parliament, who has been accused of sexual harassment. 

Police detaining protesting wrestlers
Image source: PTI

Their protest is now focused beyond the technicalities of the ongoing investigations. The consensus is clear: the law must be allowed to take its course. 

The disturbing aspect lies in the fact that an MP from the ruling party faces no political consequences despite facing serious allegations, including those under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. 

This situation raises concerns about the integrity of public life and sports administration.

The Delhi Police have provided reassurances that they are actively investigating the cases against Mr Singh, with a status report to be submitted to the court. 

However, the recent deletion of the police force’s social media posts, which had made seemingly innocuous claims, raises doubts about the fairness of their investigation.

On Tuesday, the protest by the wrestlers, many of whom are international medal winners, took an emotional turn as they gathered in Haridwar, contemplating immersing their hard-earned medals in the holy Ganga river. Ultimately, they decided against it but remain resolute in their pursuit of justice.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, farmer organizations demonstrated their support for the protesting wrestlers by holding a ‘khap maha panchayat in Uttar Pradesh, as well as organizing a series of protests in Punjab and Haryana. 

The solidarity between the farmers and wrestlers was evident as they stood together for their respective causes.

At the gathering in Soram village, Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, Rakesh Tikait, the leader of Bhartiya Kisan Union, announced their plans to meet with President Droupadi Murmu. 

Additionally, they scheduled another maha panchayat in Kurukshetra, Haryana on Friday to discuss the future course of action for their agitation. 

According to TMC MP Sushmita Dev, Trinamool Congress (TMC) members left a parliamentary panel meeting in Delhi after the chairman, BJP MP Vivek Thakur, rejected their plea to speak about the safety of female athletes. 

TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee further expressed her support for the wrestlers by leading a candlelight march in Kolkata, criticizing the central government and demanding the arrest of Brij Bhushan Singh. 

In contrast, Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur stated that the government is approaching the issue with sensitivity and had already agreed to the wrestlers’ previous demands. The protests have gained momentum and garnered support from various political entities. 

The wrestlers’ cause has resonated with the farming community, as well as politicians from opposition parties, who are voicing their concerns over the safety of women athletes and the need for justice in the case involving Brij Bhushan Singh. 

The situation remains dynamic as discussions and demonstrations continue, shaping the future course of action for the agitation.

Bishnu is currently pursuing Post graduate diploma in English Journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi. He can write or articulate informative and creative content on various issues and is interested in politics, food, socio-economic issues, history, gender studies, and peace and conflict studies.

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