India’s fabled wrestlers Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia on Tuesday took to Twitter to express their disappointment over Sports Ministry appointing an Oversight Committee, led by six time boxing world champion MC Mary Kom, to run Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).
The duo took to Twitter to post, “We were assured that we would be consulted before the constitution of the Oversight Committee. It is very sad that we were not even consulted before the formation of this committee.”
— Bajrang Punia 🇮🇳 (@BajrangPunia) January 24, 2023
On Monday, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur had named the five-member committee to run the day to day affairs at WFI for the next one month.
“The WFI president will not discharge his duties and stay away from day-to-day affairs of WFI. The day-to-day working of WFI will be looked after by the Oversight Committee till their mandated duration and it will also probe the serious allegations against WFI and its chief,” Thakur had said.
“The Oversight Committee will be under the chairmanship of world champion Mary Kom. Along with her, Yogeshwar Dutt, MOC member and Dronacharya awardee Trupti Murgunde, fomer TOPS CEO Rajagopalan and former ED Teams, SAI Radica Sreeman will be part of the committee. In the next one month, this committee will probe into the sexual allegations and other charges after talking to all parties and submit its report. Till then all the day-to-day decisions and workings of WFI will be taken care of by this committee,” he added.
The committee formation comes in the aftermath of the Sports Ministry asking the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh to step down following major wrestling names across the country including Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat accusing him of sexual harassment followed by a three day protest.
Late last Friday, after a meeting with the wrestlers who staged protests at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, Thakur had said, “We are setting up an independent committee to look at all the allegations that the wrestlers have levelled against WFI. The committee will file a report in four weeks and till this time Brij Bhushan will step aside.” He said that during this period, the committee will run the “day-to-day affairs of the WFI.”
The Indian Olympics Association (IOA), in a statement, said that following its executive committee meeting, it was decided to form a committee in “accordance with the prevention of sexual harassment of women act of 2013” that would hear both sides and submit its report at the earliest. IOA members including Olympians boxer Mary Kom, archer Dola Banerjee and wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt were named in the probe panel.