Indian police charge against Olympic wrestlers who denounce sexual abuse

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Olympic wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik were clinging to the bodies of their comrades yesterday in a peaceful resistance mode to prevent policemen from breaking up their demonstration, in Jantar Mantar, an area near the Indian Parliament, which was being inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra. Modi. The athletes protested the inaction of the authorities in the face of alleged cases of sexual abuse within the Wrestling Federation, after more than a month of protests. In addition to repressing the march, the New Delhi Police filed charges of violence against athletes on Monday.

The athletes, who tried to march to the Indian Parliament, were accused of causing a riot and illegally demonstrating for trying to reach the legislative headquarters without permission, at the same time as the government held a ceremony to inaugurate the new capitol. "The protesters mocked the law yesterday with the intention of violence despite all requests and requests," the New Delhi Police Commissioner's office reported Monday to indicate the revocation of permission to protest.

Among those denounced are Malik, bronze medalist at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in 2016; and Punia, who took the bronze medal at Tokyo 2020. Both are considered national heroes in a country that has long yearned for Olympic success.

"It takes seven days for Delhi Police to register a complaint against the sexual assault perpetrator Brij Bhushan (Singh) and it didn't even take seven hours to register a complaint against us for peaceful protest," the feisty Malik tweeted. "Has the dictatorship started in this country? The whole world is seeing how the government treats its players."

Wrestlers Sangeeta Phogat and Vinesh Phogat are arrested on Sunday


Malik along with other athletes has been on the streets since last April demanding an investigation and the arrest of the president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), Brij Bhushan Singh, whom they accuse of sexually abusing several wrestlers when they already ran the institution.

The protest came to an end yesterday after the youths tried to move from Janta Mantar in central New Delhi, where many of the protests in the capital are traditionally held, to the Parliament House where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was located. . The failed march ended with Mallik's brief arrest, among other athletes, suspension, and permanent eviction from the Janta Mantar protest.

Has the dictatorship started in this country?

Sakshi MalikIndian Olympic wrestler

Four months ago, some fighters denounced the alleged sexual abuse that has taken place for years within the WFI, directly accusing Singh, a member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling formation to which Modi belongs.

These alleged sexual abuse and harassment were committed by Singh and by coaches kept in their posts despite the fact that the federation was informed of their practices, according to the athletes. However, Singh has repeatedly defended his innocence, calling the allegations a political conspiracy, while he has refused to resign.

One of the leaders of the protest, the fighter Vinesh Phogat, recounted that several cases of abuse within the WFI have been reported. On one occasion the coach was banned for 10 days and returned as head coach. "This is the culture of the WFI," she told Al Jazeera. Complainant athletes prefer to remain anonymous.

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