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Wrestlers' protest: Won't let players' morale break, says Haryana CM

With the country's top wrestlers, many of them from Haryana, accusing the Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexually harassing players, politicians reacted sharply

Manohar Lal Khattar

Manohar Lal Khattar (Photo: ANI)

Press Trust of India Chandigarh
With the country's top wrestlers, many of them from Haryana, accusing the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexually harassing players, politicians in the state reacted sharply with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar asserting "we will not let their morale to break".
Congress leaders also came out strongly in support of the players, with former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda saying "it is a matter of great misfortune and shame that our players, the pride of the country, have to protest on the streets today".
Several Khaps in the state, including the Phogat Khap, also voiced support to the grapplers. A 'Sarv Jatiya Khap Mahapanchayat' was held in Charkhi Dadri on Thursday.
The meeting "felt that the allegations levelled are serious, therefore, the entire matter should be probed by a retired judge, and the WFI chief should be sacked and further action as per law should be initiated."

The Khaps also mulled on marching to Delhi where the wrestlers are holding their protest against the.
Chief Minister Khattar said the Union government has already taken note of all the concerns of the players seriously and the Union Sports Ministry has asked the Wrestling Federation of India to respond within 72 hours.
World championship medallist Vinesh Phogat, one of the country's top wrestlers, who belongs to Haryana, on Wednesday alleged that WFI president Singh has been sexually exploiting women wrestlers for years, a charge vehemently rejected by the BJP MP.
Khattar said the central and state government boost the morale of the sportspersons through welfare schemes, but such incidents somewhere affect the morale of sportspersons. "But we will not let their morale to break".
"Women players' security is very important and we will pay all attention," he told reporters here. "If any matter is referred to the state government by the Centre, then cognisance will be taken of."

Khattar said no such complaint had come earlier and all the information was received only after the protest of the players at Delhi.
Senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda said the allegations levelled by the grapplers are serious and worrying. "The government should take strict action against the culprits by conducting a fair and transparent investigation," he added.
He said the sportspersons who bring glory to the country are being forced to sit on a dharna.
"Serious allegations have been levelled against the wrestling federation and its president by women wrestlers. The Wrestling Federation should be dissolved and all the accused should be brought under investigation," he said.
Hooda said all these wrestlers are the players of the country, but the state government should also remember that most of the players belong to Haryana.
"It is the responsibility of the state government to protect the rights of the sportspersons and stand with sportspersons, but the silence of the Haryana government in this matter is very disappointing," he said

Hooda targeted the Khattar government, saying it maintained "silence" after a woman coach of the state sports department had lodged sexual harassment complaint against minister Sandeep Singh.
"The state government has earlier also been silent in such cases," Hooda alleged.
Another senior Congress leader from Haryana, Kumari Selja said immediate action should be taken against the WFI chief, a BJP MP.
"The kind of allegations levelled by Haryana's daughters and the country's renowned wrestlers on the President of Wrestling Federation and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh had shaken every sensitive person to the core. Women wrestlers struggle hard to bring laurels to the country and if they are targeted like this, then no parent would even think of sending their children into sports," Selja, a former Union Minister, said.
She said the whole matter should be thoroughly investigated and till then all the women wrestlers should get the protection of the central forces.
Selja also took on the Khattar government in Minister Sandeep Singh case

"The daughters of Haryana, the land from where the prime minister of the country had given the slogan of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, were struggling to get justice for the incidents that happened with them," she said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jan 20 2023 | 9:21 AM IST

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