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The Battle for Justice: Wrestlers Protest in India

Will parents send their girls into sports if not then how will we bring medals? Will politics ever exit other professions? The IOC condemns the treatment given to India's wrestlers during their protest.

The athlete protest in India, particularly by wrestlers, has ignited a nationwide conversation about the challenges faced by athletes and the need for justice and accountability within the sporting industry. This movement sheds light on the deep-rooted issues affecting India's sports fraternity and raises pertinent questions about the future of sports and politics in the country.

The uproar began on January 23 when Vinesh Phogat, a prominent wrestler, received distress calls from young wrestlers at the Women's Wrestling Camp in Lucknow. They reported an unsafe environment and instances of assault allegedly perpetrated by the President of the Wrestling Federation, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Outraged by these revelations, seven wrestlers, including a minor, filed a case against Brij Bhushan, seeking justice for the victims.

In response to the outcry, sit-in protests were organized at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. The demonstrations prompted the Central government to assure the wrestlers that a committee would be formed to investigate the allegations. Consequently, the protests were temporarily called off. However, due to perceived government inaction, the wrestlers resumed their march in April 2023, demanding the committee's report be made public.

The severity of the issue escalated further when two First Information Reports (FIRs) were filed against Brij Bhushan, leading the matter to reach the Supreme Court. The court issued a notice to the Delhi Police, signaling the gravity of the allegations. Shockingly, previous reports of similar incidents involving Brij Bhushan dating back to 2012 have come to light, raising concerns about the lack of action taken against him.

Amidst the protests, wrestlers threatened to dispose of their hard-earned medals in the Ganga River on May 30th. However, persuasive appeals from figures like Deepender Hooda convinced them to reconsider. Deepender, who lost the race for the Wrestling Federation presidency to Brij Bhushan, has shown support for the protesting wrestlers. Some speculate that the protests aim to pave the way for Deepender to become the new president.

The political undertones of the protests have further fueled the controversy. It is believed that the rule implemented by Brij Bhushan, requiring medal-winning wrestlers to qualify for the Olympics through trials, triggered the unrest. Accusations of political motivations and the alleged sponsorship of the protests by influential businessmen have complicated the matter.

To address these systemic issues and prevent future occurrences, it is crucial to establish internal complaints committees (ICCs) within sports federations. Shockingly, an investigation by the Indian Express revealed that more than half of the National Sports Federations lack ICCs. Additionally, promoting ex-players to leadership positions within federations can bring invaluable insights and experiences that can help improve the sports ecosystem, devoid of political agendas and nepotism.

By learning from the athlete protest and implementing measures that empower athletes and promote transparency, India can pave the way for a brighter future in the realm of sports. According to me, even after his resignation, nothing will change as he has done nepotism in sports as his son is Vice-president, and his son-in-law, and brother-in-law of his son are in WFI. Even if he resigns there are so many to be his puppet heads. If an ex-player is a head he will help the federation as he would have already faced things, can improve the sports, and that too without any political agenda. The players who make our country proud should get the honor of being listened to. This is important not just for one game, but for the whole country. The athletes who bring glory to our nation deserve to be heard and honored. This battle for justice transcends a single sport; it encompasses the aspirations and pride of an entire country. In conclusion, addressing issues like sexual harassment, ensuring proper investigations, and providing timely justice are critical steps toward fostering a culture of accountability and fairness in Indian sports.


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