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Rahul discussed Brij Bhushan issue, sportspersons returning awards during interaction with wrestlers

During his visit to the 'akhara', the Congress leader tried his hand at wrestling and discussed with the wrestlers their demand for action against the former WFI chief who has been accused of sexual harassment and wrestler Bajrang Punia's announcement of returning his Padma Shri award

PTI New Delhi Published 29.12.23, 11:14 AM

X / @RahulGandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday shared a video of his interaction with some wrestlers in Haryana's Jhajjar district a day ago, when the sportspersons reiterated their demand for action against former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh in sexual harassment cases.

Sharing the around-seven-minute-long video clip on X, the Congress leader said, "Misbehaving with talented daughters of the country, betrayal of sportspersons who made the country proud, what kind of tradition is the BJP setting? Dignity and respect, that is all India's wrestlers ask for." During his visit to the 'akhara', Gandhi tried his hand at wrestling and discussed with the wrestlers their demand for action against Singh who has been accused of sexual harassment and wrestler Bajrang Punia's announcement of returning his Padma Shri award.

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Punia had last week announced returning his Padma Shri award in protest against the election of Sanjay Singh, a loyalist of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, as the president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

"I didn't feel like keeping it. If our sisters and daughters are not safe what will I do with the awards... Wrestling has given us everything. If its future is not safe, there is no point," Punia said.

Punia and coach Arya Virendra Dalal said that voice against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh was raised in 2012 and 2014 as well, but no action was taken then.

"No one had the courage to raise voice against Brij Bhushan Singh. Our sisters had that courage," Punia said during his interaction with Gandhi.

One of the young wrestlers was heard saying in the video that they wanted Sanjay Singh's removal as WFI chief to ensure that their future is safe.

Later, the Sports Ministry suspended the newly-elected WFI panel for not following the provisions of its own constitution while taking decisions and also asked the IOA to constitute an ad-hoc panel to manage the affairs of the sports body.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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