India's top wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Sangeeta Phogat, Sonam Malik, and Anshu Malik, led by Bajrang Punia, have opened a front against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Wednesday.
About a dozen wrestlers including Bajrang Punia are protesting at Jantar Mantar. Olympic medalist wrestlers have taken a stand against the Wrestling Federation of India. These Indian wrestlers alleged that the Federation is harassing them with its strange rules. The wrestlers did not elaborate on their grievances or demands. But it is clear that they are upset with the attitude of the WFI president and BJP MP from Kaiserganj, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Wrestlers have also tweeted about this with the tag #BoycottWFIPresident #BoycottWrestlingPresident.
"Our protest is against the Federation and the way it has been functioning without keeping the best interests of wrestlers in mind. This has nothing to do with politics of any sort. We have not invited any politicians here. This is purely a protest of wrestlers."
Bajrang said before the protest began at 12 noon on Wednesday that the Sangh cannot treat wrestlers like slaves. Also, he has said that he will not participate in national or international tournaments until they listen to their demand. "We are here to raise the issue of wrestlers who have no voice when it comes to decision making. Wrestler have suffered for long silently. But now we have decided that we won't stay quiet anymore against unilateral decisions being taken by the Wrestling Federation of India. All of India's top wrestlers won't participate in national or international meets till our demands are met. And we are treated better by the Wrestling Federation of India. Wrestlers here have a request to the prime minister's office and the home minister's office to help us and help the sport."
"When we win medals for India everyone celebrates. But after that nobody cares about how we are treated, especially by the federation. If we are promised by the PMO and the home minister's office that our issues will be addressed then we will stop our protest. Else we will continue protesting. Wrestlers can be treated as ghulams of the Wrestling Federation of India. Today we will talk about the rot in the federation and the tanashahi which has been happening for many years. Nobody even asks about what wrestling want. This is not fair and we have been silently tolerating this. But not anymore." Bajrang further added.
While Vinesh Phogat said, "I have been trying to talk to the federation and make them understand my issues and those of other wrestlers for nearly 10 years. But nobody is even ready to listen."