The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has constituted a five-member oversight committee comprising 2012 London Olympic bronze medal-winning stars, boxer M.C. Mary Kom and wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, to investigate allegations of sexual exploitation against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, coaches and other officials that had led to a three-day long protest at Capital’s Jantar Mantar by country’s top wrestlers last week.
The wrestlers, led by Vinesh and Bajrang Punia, sat for three days at the venue, famous for many political protests in the past, demanding resignation from the WFI president, and only called off their protest in the wee hours of January 21 following a meeting with the Union sports minister Anurag Thakur, who promised action through an oversight committee, which would include three women.
Former badminton player Trupti Murgunde and Ex-ED (Teams) SAI, Radhica Sreeman are the other women besides Mary Kom in the committee. Rajesh Rajagopalan, ex-CEO Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) is the fifth member.
According to a press release from the ministry on January 23, the committee will “enquire into the allegations of sexual misconduct, harassment and/or intimidation, financial irregularities and administrative lapses, levelled by prominent sportspersons”.
Besides that, it will “undertake day-to-day functioning of the Wrestling Federation of India” pushing Brij Bhushan out of president’s seat.
The oversight committee has been asked to complete the investigation within four weeks.
The ministry has stated through a release, “Considering the unprecendented situation which calls for immediate measures to ameliorate the grievances of sportspersons, and to promote good governance in the WFI, the Ministry, in consonance with provisions of the National Sports Development Code of India, 2011 (Sports Code) and in compliance with principles of the International Olympic Committee policy on safeguarding athletes from harassment and abuse in sports and the prevention of principles of Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Act 2013, hereby instructs the Executive Committee of the WFI to abstain with immediate effect, as an interim measure. from administering and managing the day-to-day actitivities of the federation, until further orders and hereby appoints an Oversight Committee as a purely interim measure.”