Indian police will investigate allegations of sexual harassment against the president of the wrestling federation leveled by some young female athletes who are holding a week-long sit-in protest near the parliament building in New Delhi, the country’s highest court was informed on Friday.
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta gave the assurance as the Supreme Court took up a petition filed by female wrestlers claiming that the sports ministry has failed to take any action on their allegations made in January against Wrestling Federation of India president Brijbhushan Sharan Singh.
Singh is a powerful lawmaker representing the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. He denies the allegations.
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Wrestlers including Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik are protesting against the WFI president, accusing him of sexual harassment and the wrestling federation of mishandling funds and mismanagement.
They also are demanding Singh’s arrest.
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Phogat claimed in January that several coaches have exploited female wrestlers at the behest of the WFI president.
The wrestlers called off a sit-in protest near the parliament building in January following a government assurance that a probe into their allegations would be completed in four weeks. They resumed their protest last week because they say the sports ministry did not act on a report submitted by an inquiry committee that probed the allegations. The ministry has yet to make the report public.
In January, Indian Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur said the probe would be completed in four weeks. He also asked the president of the federation to step aside and help in carrying out the probe, and appointed a committee to carry out the day-to-day work of the Wrestling Federation of India.