Want justice for wrestlers, but after due process of law: Sports Minister Anurag Thakur

File picture of Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur

File picture of Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur
| Photo Credit: ANI

Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Friday said everyone wants justice to be delivered to the wrestlers demanding action against outgoing Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, but it will happen only after following the due process of law.

Mr. Thakur’s remarks came days after the country’s top wrestlers, protesting for more than a month over allegations of sexual harassment against Singh, threatened to immerse their medals in the Ganga river in Haridwar.

EDITORIAL | Wrestling for justice: On the protest by the wrestlers

“The government favours an unbiased investigation…. All of us want justice to be delivered, but it will happen after following the due process,” Mr. Thakur said in an interactive session at the India Economic Conclave organised by the Times Network.

The Minister said the Delhi Police is investigating the case, which was filed after a government-appointed committee submitted a report on the allegations against Singh, who is also a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP.

“There is no question of bias,” Mr. Thakur said to suggestions that the delay in action was because Singh was a Lok Sabha member of the ruling party at the Centre.

The Minister said the Delhi Police is expected to file a chargesheet in the matter soon. “All of us are in favour of a speedy investigation,” he added.

Mr. Thakur said the government had agreed to every demand of the wrestlers, set up a panel to probe the charges levelled by them against Singh and asked the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to appoint a committee of administrators to run the affairs of the WFI.

“Be it an athlete or a woman, if any atrocity has been committed, they should get speedy justice,” he said, adding that the incidents the wrestlers have referred to had taken place seven years ago.

Mr. Thakur said the wrestlers were told that an FIR could be filed at any police station, but they wanted the intervention of the government.

Several Olympic and World Championship medal-winning wrestlers, including Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Sangeeta Phogat, have been protesting here demanding Singh’s arrest for allegedly sexually harassing several female grapplers, including a minor.

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