Be patient, trust probe; don't take steps that undermine sports: Anurag Thakur to protesting wrestlers

Union Minister Anurag Thakur. File photo: PTI

New Delhi: In an appeal to the protesting wrestlers, who threatened to throw their medals in the Ganges at Haridwar, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Wednesday asked the grapplers to not take any step that would undermine sports.

Thakur also urged the wrestlers to be patient and trust the investigation into the allegations against the Wrestling Federation of India's former chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

"I urge the wrestlers to be patient till the outcome of the investigation. I also urge them not to take any step that would undermine sports," the minister said while replying to queries from reporters.

Thakur's remarks come a day after the country's top wrestlers, including Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia, along with hundreds of their supporters, reached Har ki Pauri to immerse their medals in the river Ganga but were persuaded by Khap and farmer leaders not to do so.

Will hang self if charges are proven: Brij Bhushan Singh

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on Wednesday said he will hang himself even if a single allegation is proved against him.

The BJP MP also said all wrestlers are like his children and he will not blame them as his blood and sweat have also gone into their success.

"I am once again saying that if even if a single allegation is proved against me, I will hang myself," Singh said while addressing a programme at the Mahadeva Auditorium in the Ramnagar area in Uttar Pradesh.

"It has been four months since they (wrestlers) want me to be hanged, but the government is not hanging me. So they were going to immerse their medals in the Ganga. Brij Bhushan will not be hanged by throwing medals in the Ganga. If you have proof, give it to the court and if the court hangs me, I will accept it," the member of Parliament from Kaiserganj said.

"All the players are like my children. Until a few days ago, they used to call me the god of wrestling. When I took over as the wrestling federation chief, India was ranked 20th in the world. Today, after my hard work, India's name is included among the five best wrestling teams in the world.

"I have lived wrestling day and night. Five of the seven Olympic medals (in wrestling) came to India during my tenure. The allegations levelled against me are baseless," the outgoing WFI chief said.

The wrestlers, including Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia and Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat, who were protesting at Delhi's Jantar Mantar since April 23 demanding Singh's arrest, were removed from the site by police on Sunday after they tried to march towards the new Parliament building following its inauguration. They were detained before being released later.

The Delhi Police has registered two FIRs against Singh.

The first FIR pertains to the allegations levelled by a minor and it has been lodged under the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act along with the sections of the Indian Penal Code concerning outraging modesty. The other FIR has been registered over complaints from women wrestlers pertaining to outraging modesty.

(With PTI inputs)

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