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Suffered Silently Like Many Girls: Vinesh Phogat Reveals Amid Wrestler’s Protest

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It’s been over a month since the top wrestlers of India engaged in a protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar against BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). Seven female wrestlers, including a minor, alleged that BJP MP Singh had been sexually harassing them.

The athletes initially came together in a protest earlier in January, calling for action to be taken against the BJP MP. However, they were promised that a committee would be set up to probe the allegations and that severe action would be taken if proven guilty.

Vinesh Phogat On Wrestler Protest

Seeing no adequate action being taken, the enraged athletes once again gathered in a vigorous protest, demanding action against the federation chief, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. This came after the Supreme Court of India closed petitions on a plea seeking to register a complaint against MP Singh. The athletes unanimously claimed that they would continue to engage in a protest until MP Singh was arrested.

In an exclusive talk with the Indian Express, Vinesh Phogat said that although their fight for justice has been ongoing for a month, they feel like it’s been forever because the “wheels of justice have been moving very slowly.” She added that even though the Asian Games are just around the corner and Olympic qualifications have begun, they have to represent India and win medals for our country, their fight for justice is now much more pressing. She also revealed that she had no other option but to silently suffer like many other girls.

Students and women from across the states have extended their support by choosing to participate in the protest | Image Credits: Priya Prakash

While the protest is facing derailment from regional politics, numerous students and women from across the states have extended their support by choosing to participate in the protest. They seek to help the athletes get justice for the harassment and abuse they were subjected to over the years.

Amidst the ongoing protest, SheThePeople’s reporter Priya Prakash went to the site to enlighten readers with an on-the-ground report of the situation. A student protester said that what we are witnessing is shameful because the kind of treatment the athletes are subjected to is disgraceful. “While they have to be bestowed with medals, they’re being dealt with violence,” she added. “Let’s stand in solidarity with each other regardless of the price we have to pay,” said another protester.

Students throng in numbers to stand in solidarity with the protesting wrestlers at Jantar Mantar, Delhi | Image credits: Priya Prakash

Another protester said, “I want to tell all women across the country, athletes or otherwise, to not be afraid anymore. It’s time we break our silence against such atrocities, claim our power, and, more importantly, stand up for each other.”

It’s heartwarming to witness women from different walks of life, most of whom have no connection with sports, come forward seeking justice for the athletes. The athletes who make our country proud deserve their right to justice and should not be forced to protest on the sidewalk for weeks fighting for the justice they rightfully deserve.

Watch SheThePeople’s report here

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