The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president, PT Usha, criticized wrestlers protesting on the streets, calling it ‘indiscipline’ and a blemish on India’s reputation. Three decorated wrestlers, Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, and Sakshi Malik, are leading the protests against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, for sexual harassment and criminal intimidation allegations.
According to Usha, ‘Wrestlers staging protest on streets amounts to indiscipline. It is tarnishing the image of India.’ The IOA has set up a three-member adhoc panel headed by a retired high court judge and including former shooter Suma Shirur and Wushu Association of India chief Bhupendra Singh Bajwa to manage the WFI until a new body is elected.
The wrestlers’ grievances have been known since January, and the IOA and the government have promised to investigate their allegations against Brij Bhushan and the WFI to calm the wrestlers. However, Usha’s statement indicates that the IOA does not approve of the wrestlers’ tactics and the negative impact it has on India’s image.