While medal-winning Indian wrestlers have been protesting against Brij Bhushan Singh, the president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), accusing him of sexual harassment of women wrestlers, the BJP MP on Thursday (April 27) released a video in which he said he would prefer to die rather than feel helpless.
“Friends, the day I introspect on what I gained or lost, and feel that I no longer have the strength to fight; the day I feel helpless, I would wish death as I won’t be living a life like that. Instead of living such a life, I would wish that death takes me in its embrace,” Singh said in the video.
His video emerged hours after Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president PT Usha criticised the aggrieved wrestlers for taking to the streets instead of approaching the IOA, stressing that “they should have shown some discipline.”
The protesting wrestlers have dubbed the comments by the IOA chief utterly insensitive, especially coming from a woman.
Also read: Protesting wrestlers lash out at PT Usha after IOA chief calls them ‘indisciplined’
The Supreme Court on Friday is slated to hear the petitions of the protesting wrestlers demanding the filing of a case against Singh.
The grapplers’ agitation has received support from fellow athletes with many of them including Olympic gold medallists Neeraj Chopra and Abhinav Bindra giving them a shout out on Twitter.
“As athletes, we train hard every day to represent our country on the international stage. It is deeply concerning to see our athletes finding it necessary to protest on the streets regarding the allegations of harassment in the Indian wrestling administration,” Bindra tweeted on Wednesday (April 26).
Also read: Protesting wrestlers tarnishing India’s image: IOA chief PT Usha
“My heart goes out to all those who have been affected. We must ensure that this issue is handled properly, with the athletes’ concerns heard and addressed fairly and independently. This incident highlights the crucial need for a proper safeguarding mechanism that can prevent harassment and ensure justice for those affected. We must work towards creating a safe and secure environment for all athletes to thrive in,” he added.
As athletes, we train hard every day to represent our country on the international stage. It is deeply concerning to see our athletes finding it necessary to protest on the streets regarding the allegations of harassment in the Indian wrestling administration. My heart goes out…
— Abhinav A. Bindra OLY (@Abhinav_Bindra) April 26, 2023
It hurts me to see…: Neeraj Chopra
Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra in a tweet said, “It hurts me to see our athletes on the streets demanding justice. They have worked hard to represent our great nation and make us proud.”
“As a nation, we are responsible for safeguarding the integrity and dignity of every individual, athlete or not. What’s happening should never happen. This is a sensitive issue, and must be dealt with in an impartial and transparent manner,” said Chopra.
“Pertaining authorities must take quick action in order to ensure that justice is served,” he concluded.
— Neeraj Chopra (@Neeraj_chopra1) April 28, 2023
Sakshi Malik urges PM Modi to listen to wrestlers’ Mann Ki Baat
On Wednesday (April 26), during a candlelight protest, Sakshi Malik told the media, “We urge PM Modi to listen to our Mann Ki Baat. Even Smriti Irani-ji is not listening to us. We are trying to show them the light through this candlelight march.”
Also read: Protesting wrestlers to PM Modi: ‘Please listen to our Mann Ki Baat’
She said the police had still not filed any FIR against the WFI chief based on their complaint.
“We are now counting on the Supreme Court to give us justice,” said Sakshi.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud is scheduled to hear the wrestlers’ plea on Friday (April 28).
(With inputs from agencies)