Olympic medallist wrestler Sakshi Malik has demanded that Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh undergo a narco test under Supreme Court supervision. The demand comes after Brij Bhushan claimed innocence against allegations of sexual harassment against seven women wrestlers, including a minor. At a press conference, Sakshi said, “Whosoever is found guilty, hang them.” The protesters, including top wrestlers such as Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat, have been protesting at Jantar Mantar for over two weeks, calling for the arrest of Brij Bhushan. The wrestlers have also decided to wear black armbands on Thursday as a mark of protest against the authorities’ alleged inaction.
Sakshi also made an appeal to the women of the country to come forward and support the wrestlers. She said, “I would request the womenfolk in the country to support us just like they did in the Nirbhaya case.” Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia said that the protesting wrestlers were not against national competitions, but they opposed any events involving Brij Bhushan. Punia urged the Indian Olympic Association-appointed ad hoc panel to organise all the tournaments, as major international events such as the Asian Games and the Olympic qualifiers are coming up.
Punia also alleged that the Information Technology cell was trying to malign the image of the wrestlers. He added, “The entire IT cell is trying to malign the image of the wrestlers. Sometimes you are making it look like a caste issue, sometimes a political issue etc…but let me say that you cannot suppress the truth.” Vinesh requested sponsors Tata Motors to investigate if the money earmarked for wrestling was actually reaching the athletes. She said, “I also appeal to them to ask WFI if the money is reaching the athletes.”