Sexual exploitation: Unhappy with govt assurance without action, wrestlers ready to lodge FIR against BJP MP

News Network
January 19, 2023

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New Delhi, Jan 19: The country's top wrestlers on Thursday vowed to intensify their protest, saying the government has given them an assurance but no "satisfactory response" and they will lodge multiple FIRs against WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh if the Wrestling Federation of India is not disbanded immediately.

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh is a prominent leader of BJP and Member of the Parliament from Kaiserganj constituency.  

The wrestlers, who have accused the WFI President of sexual exploitation and intimidation, continued their dharna for the second day as more grapplers joined them in what they called was a fight to give "a new life to Indian wrestling."

Three-time CWG medallist and BJP leader Babita Phogat came to the protest site with a "message" from the government and assured the grapplers that their demands will be met as the athletes took turn to share their bad experiences.

Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Ravi Dahiya pleaded for more support while young Anshu Malik narrated how WFI President's presence in the players' hotel in Bulgaria during the world junior championship last year made the women wrestlers uncomfortable.

It may be noted that 21-year-old Anshu had not competed in that championship as she was injured.

A team of wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Anshu, Sakshi Malik, and her husband Satyawrat Kadiyan, was then called for a meeting with the government as they discussed their issues with Sports Secretary Sujata Chaturvedi, Director General SAI Sandip Pradhan and Joint Secretary (Sports) Kunal.

During the one-hour meeting, the wrestlers were asked to end their protest and assured that their grievances will be addressed.

However, the wresters wanted a concrete and immediate action and decided to continue their protest unless WFI President is removed and the national federation is disbanded along with all the state wrestling associations in the country.

Later addressing the media, Vinesh did not disclose what transpired at the meeting but said, "Unfortunately we did not get a satisfactory response."

"Yesterday, we had 1-2 victims amongst us but now we have 5-6 wrestlers, who were harassed (sexually). We can't name them now, after all they are daughters and sisters of somebody. But if we are forced to disclose their identity, it will be a black day," said Vinesh, the two-time World Championship medallist.

"It's not just about his (Brij Bhushan) resignation. We will send him to jail. We did not want to take the legal route, because we had hoped for resolution but if a proper solution is not provided, we will lodge FIRs against the President.

"We are World Championship and Olympic medallists, don't suspect us, we are telling the truth, believe us."

WFI Emergency General Council in Ayodhya

It has been learnt that the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has called for an Emergency General Council in Ayodhya on Sunday to discuss the issue.

"Yes, a meeting has been called and future course of action will be discussed. I can't say if WFI President will resign or not. It needs to be discussed," said a WFI official.

It may be noted that Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh's third term as WFI President is ending soon and he is ineligible to contest again. He was elected WFI President for the third time in February 2019.

According to the National Sports Code, a person may serve as President, and thereby on the Board, of the NOC/NSF for up to three terms or 12 years with or without break, after the completion of which tenure as President, the person shall not be entitled to return as an office bearer or Board member of the NSF.

Trust us, we are not lying

Bajrang said,"The entire wrestling hub (fraternity) is here. We have proofs, we are not lying. We want wrestling to live, start a new life."

The 28-year-old Vinesh claimed that she has got calls of appreciation from Kerala and Maharashtra woman wrestlers for taking up the cause.

"At least 5-6 girls will lodge FIRs tomorrow and it will be a black day if it happens in a country like India where 'Durga' and 'Lakshmi' are worshipped. Then I would say that no woman is safe in this country and no daughter should be born to anyone."

Asked to give details of the meeting they had with the government representative, Vinesh said,"They did not give any time-frame, just gave assurances."

"Everything is at stake now. We have not even taken police protection and (are) sitting here. But where is the WFI President; his office (is) locked. Where are those eyes that used to scare us."

When reminded that London Olympics medallist Yogeshwar Dutt has backed WFI President along with Asian Championship medallist Divya Karan, Vinesh said, Yogeshwar is definitely sitting in the lap of the WFI and that Kakran herself spoke against the President in the past. We have proofs."

"All the videos (in support of WFI President) are being made where he has that "aatank ka adda' (hub of terror), people should come and make videos here at Jantar Mantar while sitting in front of the public.

"We want the government to take control of WFI and we will not compete in any competition under the current President."

Sakshi Malik said all state wrestling associations should be disbanded in the country because the WFI President has all his men in these sports bodies.

Brinda Karat asked to leave protest

Earlier in the day, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat, who arrived at the protest site in support of the wrestlers and wanted to speak, was asked to leave by the grapplers, saying they don't want anyone to give their campaign a political colour.

"We request you, madam, please don't make this political," Bajrang said.

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women (NCW) said that the wrestlers can approach it with their complaints.

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News Network
March 13,2023

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Mangaluru, Mar 13: It’s one more list that the coastal district of Dakshina Kannada tops in the State, but this time, it has brought in with it misery for the citizens here.

Both the Indian Metrological Department (IMD) and the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) concur that past couple of weeks had higher-than-normal temperatures in Dakshina Kannada and surrounding areas.

On Sunday, March 12, the highest average maximum temperature of 40.6 Deg C was recorded at Kadaba, Dakshina Kannada district, according to KSNMDC. 

Panambur in Mangaluru recorded the highest maximum temperature of 39.6 degrees Celsius on Saturday, March 11.

The bulletin stated that heat wave conditions are likely in isolated pockets over Coastal Karnataka districts. Maximum temperature in the range of 39˚C to 40.60˚C recorded in some parts of DK and UK districts, it added.

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News Network
March 13,2023

An IndiGo Airline Delhi-Doha flight, 6E-1736, was diverted to Karachi airport in Pakistan after a medical emergency. The passenger, a Nigerian, was declared dead on arrival by the airport medical team, IndiGo Airline said.

“IndiGo flight 6E-1736, operating from Delhi to Doha was diverted to Karachi due to a medical emergency on board. Unfortunately, on arrival, the passenger was declared dead by the airport medical team,” IndiGo said.

A Civil Aviation Authority spokesperson in Karachi confirmed that a flight of an Indian airline was going to Dubai from Delhi when the health of a passenger worsened mid-flight.

The pilot of the IndiGo flight sought emergency landing permission due to a medical emergency, which was granted by the Air Traffic Controller at the Karachi airport.

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News Network
March 20,2023

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Shivamogga, Mar 20: Days after former minister and BJP leader K S Eshwarappa’s provocative remarks against Azaan, a man delivered the Azaan in front of the deputy commissioner’s office in Shivamogga, the home district of Eshwarappa. 

A small group of Muslim men holding flags protested against the BJP MLA’s statements. They even tried to barge into the DC’s office.

A video of the protest Azaan went viral on social media.

Shivamogga police booked a case agianst the offender and warned him not to indulge in such activities in the future. However, he was sent home.

Superintendent of Police G K Mithun Kumar said, "The person was called and warned not to do it. One preventive case is booked against that person. We are verifying the antecedents of those who participated in the protest: Based on the antecedents appropriate action is being initiated," he added.

Eswarappa had stirred controversy during last week Vijay Sankalp Yatra in Mangaluru. “This (Azaan) will come to an end. Will Allah listen only if the prayers are done through loudspeakers…this makes me question if He is deaf.” 

His statements received backlash from the Muslim community. However, the former minister defended his statements saying India is a Hindu Rashtra.

“In the entire world, India is the only country for Hindus. We are protecting the Hindu dharma. But if they (Muslims) continue this practice (of giving Azaan) through loudspeakers then we have to admit he (Allah) is deaf. So I think this issue should be addressed at the earliest,” he told reporters.

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