Disclosing names of victims would put them in danger, says Vinesh Phogat

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NEW DELHI: Commonwealth gold medalist Vinesh Phogat on Friday stated that disclosing the names of victims would put them in danger and said that it was one of the reasons for having not yet filed an FIR.

“If we disclose the name of the victims it would put them in danger including their families. We can’t disclose their identity as nothing has been put on paper and it has not yet been made official.

We came here to fight for our dignity and if that is taken away from us what is the point of us protesting? We can’t share all the intricate details as this is a sensitive matter involving the self-respect of female wrestlers. We will share all the details with you once everything is assured to us,” Phogat said while speaking to the media on Friday.

“We’re presenting all issues. Had it been only about wrestling, the matter would’ve been resolved after a discussion.

But it’s a big issue. It’s not about just one but several girls. We can’t disclose their identity, and if we do then it would be a threat to their lives and families,” added the wrestler.

The Asian Games gold medalist also mentioned that Union Minister Anurag Thakur has assured to hold another round of discussion with them and consider the demands of the wrestlers.

“Sports minister has given us time again to put forth our demands and discuss them. We want concrete assurance on each of our demands. If we had got them we would have not held so many meetings. We raised our issues, and Union Sports Minister has given us time to meet again at 6.00 pm,” informed the Arjuna awardee.

Talking about the aftermath of her Tokyo Olympics performance, Phogat said that she had requested the WFI President Brij Bhushan Saran Singh to meet her after returning from the Olympics but he did not entertain her request.

“He hasn’t met me since the time I came back from Tokyo Olympics. Several players wrote to the federation about the harassment they faced but there was no response. If we make our issue public, the WFI Chief will try to brush it under the carpet using his influence,” the grappler alleged.

Olympian wrestler and 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Bajrang Punia also alleged that the WFI President could flee the country.

“His office is 500m away from Jantar Mantar, why has he run away to Gonda? If he can run away from here, he could also flee the country,” said Punia.

Several ace wrestlers of the country, including Sakshee Malikkh, Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Ravi Dahiya, are holding a sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.

Their protest began on Wednesday, with wrestlers alleging of women wrestlers being sexually harassed by the WFI Chief and their coaches. They have also demanded a complete overhaul of the federation.

The WFI president Brij Bhushan Saran Singh refuted the allegations and claimed he will expose the ‘political conspiracy’ in a press conference in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda today.

On Thursday a group of wrestlers had a meeting with Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur which stretched till early this morning.

However, according to sources the meeting remained inconclusive and the minister is likely to meet with grapplers again today at his residence.

Meanwhile, Vinesh, Bajrang, Sakshee, Ravi and Deepak on Friday wrote to PT Usha, president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on the ‘sexual harassment’ complaints against WFI chairman Brij Bhushan Saran Singh.

In a letter to the IOA president, the star grapplers accused the WFI chairman of sexual exploitation and financial irregularities. (ANI)

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