Muzaffarnagar: A khap ‘mahapanchayat’ to discuss the ongoing protest by wrestlers against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has begun in Soram village here on Thursday, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leaders said. The ‘mahapanchayat’ was called by BKU leader Naresh Tikait on Wednesday, a day after he and other farmer leaders managed to dissuade some of India’s top wrestlers from throwing their medals in the Ganga river to protest police inaction against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief in two cases of sexual harassment.
Tikait is the head of Balyan khap. The ‘mahapanchayat’ is being attended by khap leaders from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi.
Resolution On Wrestlers’ Protest Likely
The ‘mahapanchayat’ will pass a resolution at the end of the meeting. It is likely to be passed by the evening after the khap leaders from all states have expressed their views on the issue, a BKU leader said.
Centre Handling Wrestlers’ Issue Sensitively: Sports Minister
Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Thursday said the Centre was sensitively handling the issue of protesting wrestlers, who are seeking the arrest of outgoing WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over sexual harassment allegations. Thakur, who is on a visit to Mumbai, told reporters that the government has accepted the wrestlers’ demand for a committee to probe their allegations and an investigation was underway.
The Supreme Court has asked the wrestlers to approach the magistrate court, he added. On Wednesday, Thakur asked the protesting wrestlers not to take any step that could undermine sports or hurt players and said appropriate action will be taken once the probe into their allegations is completed.
On Tuesday, Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, and Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat went to Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar along with their supporters to throw their medals in the Ganga. However, they relented after khap and farmer leaders sought five days’ time to address their grievances.
The Delhi Police has filed two FIRs against Singh. While the first FIR relates to allegations by a minor wrestler and has been registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the second is related to outraging modesty.
Singh, who has repeatedly denied all charges against him, said on Wednesday that he would hang himself if a single allegation is proved against him. He is scheduled to hold a press conference later on Thursday in Gonda district to highlight the achievements of nine years of the Modi government.
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