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From Wrestlers' Protests To Governing Body's Suspension: A Timeline

2023-12-24 16:32:32

From Wrestlers' Protests To Governing Body's Suspension: A Timeline

Sakshee Malikkh quit wrestling in protest against Sanjay Singh’s election. (FILE)

New Delhi:

The Sports Ministry today suspended the newly elected governing body of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), accusing it of ignoring rules by hastily announcing championships.

Following is the timeline of the chain of events up till the suspension of the WFI:

January 18: Wrestlers begin protest at Jantar Mantar, accuse WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual exploitation and intimidation, demand his resignation and dissolution of the WFI.

January 19: CWG champion wrestler and BJP member Babita Phogat meets wrestlers, says she will speak to the government.

January 20: Wrestlers write a complaint letter to IOA president PT Usha, demand the formation of an inquiry committee to probe the allegations and appointment of a new committee to run the WFI.

IOA forms a seven-member committee, including MC Mary Kom and Yogeshwar Dutt, to probe the allegations of sexual harassment.

January 21: Wrestlers call off protest after meeting Mr Thakur. Sports Minister says an Oversight Committee will be formed to probe the allegations and Brij Bhushan will step aside till the probe is completed.

January 21: Sports Ministry asks the WFI to suspend all ongoing activities with immediate effect and schedule emergency AGM meeting of WFI. Assistant secretary of WFI Vinod Tomar suspended.

January 23: Forms 5-member Oversight Committee (OC), led by Mary Kom, to look into the allegations. OC given 4 weeks to complete probe.

January 24: Protesting wrestlers express disappointment that they were not consulted by the government on the choice of the OC members.

February 23: OC’s tenure extended by two weeks.

April 16: The WFI announces election on May 7 after the OC’s report is submitted to the Sports Ministry. Report not made public.

April 23: Wrestlers return to Jantar Mantar, say 7 female wrestlers, including a minor, have filed a sexual harassment complaint against Brij Bhushan. Claim police has not yet registered an FIR. Wrestlers ask Sports Ministry to make OC’s findings public.

April 24: Sports Ministry stalls May 7 elections. Asks IOA to constitute an ad-hoc body to conduct the polls within 45 days of its formation.

April 25: Wrestlers move Supreme Court seeking registration of FIR against Brij Bhushan. The court issues notice to Delhi police.

April 27: Formation of 3-member panel by IOA.

May 3: A clash breaks out between the wrestlers and Delhi Police, leading to head injuries to a couple of protesters. Protesters accuse “drunk officials of manhandling” them and “misbehaving” with the female wrestlers. The altercation led to detention while some wrestlers also sustained injuries.

May 4: Supreme Court closes proceedings on a plea by three women wrestlers, who had levelled sexual harassment charges after noting that FIRs have been registered and the seven complainants have been provided adequate security.

May 5: Delhi police record statements of wrestlers, who had filed complaints of sexual harassment against Brij Bhushan.

May 10: Wrestlers challenge Brij Bhushan to take NARCO test.

May 11: Police records Brij Bhushan’s statement.

May 28: Vinesh Phogat, Sakshee Malikkh and Bajrang Punia, along with other protesters, booked for rioting and obstructing public servant in discharge of duty, while they attempt to march towards the new Parliament, being inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

May 30: International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the United World Wrestling (UWW) condemn the police’s handling and detention of the Indian wrestlers, calling it “very disturbing.” Wrestlers arrive in Haridwar to immerse medals.

June 8: Father of the minor wrestler tells PTI that they deliberately filed a false police complaint against the WFI chief because they wanted to get back at him.

June 7: Protest halted after Mr Thakur assures them that the police investigation against Brij Bhushan would be concluded and the pending WFI elections would be conducted by June 30.

June 12: IOA appoints former J&K High Court Chief Justice Mahesh Mittal Kumar as returning officer.

June 13: WFI election scheduled for July 6.

June 15: Delhi Police files charge sheet before court.

June 19: IOA ad-hoc panel calls five disaffiliated state wrestling units for hearing on June 21.

June 21: The IOA ad-hoc panel reschedules WFI elections to July 11 after five disaffiliated state bodies, seeking voting rights for the polls, present their cases in hearing.

June 22: The IOA ad-hoc panel reduces Asian Games and World Championship selection to a one-bout contest for six protesting wrestlers.

June 23: Several coaches, parents of wrestlers demand withdrawal of exemption given to six wrestlers.

June 25: The Gauhati High Court stays WFI elections, scheduled for July 11, on a petition filed by the Assam Wrestling Association.

July 18: Delhi court grants interim bail to Brij Bhushan.

Bajrang and Vinesh get direct entries into the Asian Games.

July 19: Young wrestlers hit Hisar streets to protest against “unfair trial exemption”.

WFI election scheduled for August 7.

July 20: Many junior wrestlers, their parents and coaches reach IOA headquarters, demand withdrawal of exemption granted to Vinesh and Bajrang.

WFI election rescheduled for August 12.

August 11: Punjab and Haryana High Court stay the WFI elections scheduled for August 12, following a petition filed by the Haryana Wrestling Association.

August 23: Wresting world body UWW suspends the WFI for not conducting its elections on time.

December 5: The WFI elections were scheduled on December 21.

December 21: Sanjay Singh, a Brij Bhushan loyalist, elected as the new WFI chief.

December 21: Bajrang and Sakshee hold press conference where the latter quit wrestling in protest against Singh’s election.

December 22: Bajrang returns Padma Shri in protest against Sanjay Singh’s election.

December 24: The Sports Ministry suspends WFI till further orders after the newly-elected body made a “hasty announcement” of organising the U-15 and U-20 nationals “without giving sufficient notice to wrestlers” to prepare.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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