• Friday, September 22, 2023


Film stars come out in support of protesting wrestlers

The wrestlers are protesting against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has been accused of sexual harassment.

Sonu Sood and Pooja Bhatt (Photo credit: GettyImages)

By: Mohnish Singh

The wrestlers protesting against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, accusing him of sexual harassment, have found support in Indian film personalities such as Swara Bhasker, Pooja Bhatt, and Onir, who said it was “shameful” to see the athletes struggle for justice.

Several national award-winning wrestlers have been protesting at the Jantar Mantar since Sunday demanding the government make public the findings of an oversight panel that investigated the sexual harassment allegations against Singh, also a BJP MP. Delhi Police on Friday said a FIR will be registered against Singh.

Bhasker said it is shameful to see the BJP MP being “consistently shielded by the govt.” “Shameful that our top international athletes are forced to protest on streets against sexual harassment but accused BJP MP is being consistently shielded by the govt. #IStandWithMyChampions Sack & investigate #BrijBhushanSharanSingh,” she posted on Twitter.

Criticising Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President PT Usha, actor-filmmaker Bhatt tweeted,” This is not ‘hitting back’. This is saying things as they are. Plainly, truthfully. In times of lies truth sounds & feels like a gunshot or blow as is obvious from the much abused & overused term ‘hit back’. #IStandWithMyChampions”.

Asked if the IOA would reach out to the wrestlers since they are adamant that they would not leave the protest site until their demands are met, Usha had said, “Thoda toh discipline hona chahiye (there should be some discipline). Instead of coming to us, they have gone straight to the streets. It’s not good for the sport.”

Actor Prakash Raj posted: “Dear Supreme leader. you have had your #Selfies… it’s time for you to be selfless…will you #justasking #IStandWithMyChampions”.

“#IStandWithMyChampions It’s a shame that there is so much resistance to give justice to so many women athletes. Disrespectful,” wrote Onir.

Actor-philanthropist Sonu Sood said he was hopeful that “the sportspersons of the country will definitely win the battle of wrestling against injustice.” Top wrestlers such as Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, and Sakshi Malik first staged a sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar in January and accused the WFI boss of sexual exploitation and intimidation. The wrestlers had demanded that WFI be disbanded and its president removed.

The sports ministry had then formed an oversight committee headed by boxing great MC Mary Kom on January 23 and asked it to submit its findings in one month.

Later, it extended the deadline by two weeks and also added Babita Phogat to the probe panel as its sixth member at the insistence of the protesting wrestlers.

Eastern Eye

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