Two Olympic medal-winning wrestlers in India have accused the head of their sport’s governing body and its coaches of sexually harassing female players and have vowed to protest until the federation is disbanded and its leader investigated.
Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, who have Olympic bronzes, Vinesh Phogat, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, and other athletes began a sit-in protest in the capital, Delhi, on Wednesday.
They have accused the Wrestling Federation of India president, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is also a member of parliament with Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata party, of sexual harassment.
Singh has denied all allegations against him and said the athletes have no evidence to support them. The athletes say they know of five or six players who have been victims of harassment.
The wrestlers met sports ministry officials on Thursday and were given assurances of action, Malik said at the protest site.
“We have not received a satisfactory reply,” Phogat added.
The sports ministry said on Wednesday that it took a “very serious view of the matter” and had sought a response to the allegations from the federation within 72 hours.
Punia, Malik and Phogat said they would not take part in any tournaments until adequate action was taken and the wrestling federation was disbanded.