Report Wire - Need a member of our selection within the probe panel … it’s a delicate subject: Bajrang Punia

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Need a member of our selection within the probe panel … it’s a delicate subject: Bajrang Punia

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Need a member of our choice in the probe panel … it’s a sensitive issue: Bajrang Punia

Olympic medallist Bajrang Punia has insisted that the protesting wrestlers, who’ve made sexual harassment expenses in opposition to Wrestling Federation of India president and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, desire a nominee of their selection within the probe panel set by Sports Ministry.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Bajrang mentioned, “The women wrestlers who have faced sexual harassment are willing to talk to the Oversight Committee only if the person we suggest is added to the committee. This is a sensitive issue and they need to be confident that a fair probe will be conducted.”

During the assembly with the sports activities minister Anurag Thakur late on Friday, the names of members of the committee weren’t agreed upon and the wrestlers had been instructed to take ‘two to three days’ to debate amongst themselves and recommend their nominee.

“There was a discussion (with the sports minister on Friday) and after that, we told the sports minister to give us time. We said we would talk among ourselves because we can’t immediately decide who we want on the committee. We respect everyone named on the committee, they are also sportspersons and we are not finding fault with them. But this is an issue related to girls and a very sensitive issue. We need someone who we can trust fully in the Oversight Committee,” Bajrang mentioned. He went on so as to add that they had been bowled over when sports activities minister Thakur introduced the names of the committee members on Tuesday.

Olympic medallist-boxer Mary Kom heads the committee which additionally consists of Olympic medallist-wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, former badminton participant and Mission Olympic Cell member Trupti Murgunde, former CEO of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme Rajesh Rajagopalan, and former Sports Authority of India govt director (groups) Radhica Sreeman.

“Mary Kom’s name was discussed (at the meeting on Friday), Radhica madam’s name was discussed and the (former) TOPs CEO’s name was discussed. But nothing was agreed upon. We said that we will not take any immediate decision. We were told that we will be consulted before the members of the committee were finalised. After that, there was no communication from the minister or anyone and then we heard that the committee members were named,” mentioned Bajrang, who confirmed that fellow-wrestler Yogeshwar’s title was not mentioned on the assembly.

The protest by the wrestlers, together with Rio Olympics bronze medalist Sakshi Malik and two-time World Championship bronze medalist Vinesh Phogat at Jantar Mantar in Delhi was known as off final Friday after the wrestlers held a five-hour assembly with Thakur, who promised them that the allegations can be investigated.

The Oversight Committee is accountable for operating the day-to-day affairs of the WFI and Singh has stepped apart for a month until the probe is accomplished.

The wrestlers don’t need the committee already named by the sports activities minister to be disbanded. But they’re hoping that the sports activities minister will agree so as to add their selection of a member to the committee once they meet for talks post-Republic Day.

“We are hoping that there will be a fair probe and we trust the government. Tomorrow is January 26. It is a proud day for the country. We don’t want to take any steps because it is a big day. We don’t want to protest or say anything which can paint a negative picture on Republic day. We, wrestlers, fight for the glory of the country. We hope to talk to the sports minister again after Republic Day. Currently, we are unhappy with what has happened,” Bajrang mentioned.

Last week, accusing Brij Bhushan of sexual harassment, Vinesh had mentioned, “Women wrestlers have been sexually harassed at national camps by coaches and also the WFI president. Some of the coaches appointed at national camps have been sexually harassing women wrestlers for years. The WFI president is also involved in sexual harassment.”