Amid Wrestlers’ Protest, World Body’s Stern Warning For Indian Federation

New Delhi: Top Indian wrestlers’ continued protest against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has found backing from several quarters in the country.

Now, even the United World Wrestling (UWW) – the governing body of the sport worldwide – seems to have taken notice.

UWW has issued a statement condemning the detention of wrestlers during a march to the new Parliament building on Sunday. The world body has also expressed disappointment over the lack of results of the investigations against the federation chief, and threatened to suspend the Indian federation if elections are not held within 45 days.

“UWW firmly condemns the treatment and detention of the wrestlers. It expresses its disappointment over the lack of results of the investigations so far. UWW urges the relevant authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the allegations,” the world wrestling body stated.

“UWW will request further information about the next elective general assembly from the 10A and the Ad-hoc Committee of the WFI. The 45-day deadline that was initially set to hold this elective assembly shall be respected. Failing to do so may lead UWW to suspend the federation, thereby forcing the athletes to compete under a neutral flag. It is reminded that UWW already took a measure in this situation by reallocating the Asian Championship planned in New Delhi earlier this year,” it added.

“For several months, United World Wrestling has followed with great concern the situation in India where wrestlers are protesting over allegations of abuse and harassment by the President of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). It has taken due note that the WFI president has been put aside at an early stage and is currently not in charge,” UWW said.

“As it has already done since the beginning of this situation, UWW will hold a meeting with the wrestlers to inquire about their condition and safety and reconfirm our support for a fair and just resolution of their concerns,” it added.

The protesting wrestlers, who are demanding the arrest of Brij Bhushan, postponed their plan of immersing their medals in the Ganga at Haridwar on Tuesday, and issued a five-day ultimatum to the Centre to act on their demand.

Seven wrestlers, including a minor, have complained of sexual assault by the WFI chief.

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