Wrestlers write to IOA chief PT Usha, make their complaints official

Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and Ravi Dahiya address the media about their protest against the Wrestling Federation of India. Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

India's top wrestlers wrote to the Indian Olympic Association President PT Usha on Friday asking for an official probe into the sexual harassment complaints against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and listing down the allegations of mental abuse and financial misappropriation against him.

The wrestlers, who have been sitting in protest since Wednesday, have demanded the resignation of Sharan Singh and the dissolution of WFI in the first official written complaint on public record. The letter was shared by the wrestlers on social media and the signatories include Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia, Ravi Dahiya, Sakshi Malik and World Championship medallists Vinesh Phogat and Deepak Punia. The letter also asked for a new committee to run WFI in consultation with the wrestlers

"On behalf of the wrestlers in the country, we would like to bring to your notice some very serious complaints of sexual harassment against WFI President Shri. Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. These complaints have been informed to us by several young wrestlers," the letter said.

"In addition there has been financial misappropriation on the part of the WFI. Contract payments were agreed with some of the senior wrestlers in the last few years through sponsorship received from TATA Motors. These payments were only partly made by WFI."

They also outlined the mental torture faced by Vinesh after the Olympics which made her contemplate suicide. Another complaint was incompetent coaches and support staff who acted as Singh's informants and created a bad atmosphere.

This letter comes after a day after the wrestlers said that they are yet to receive a satisfactory response about action from the powers that be, despite assurances and a late night meeting with Sports Minister Anurag Thakur.

It took PT Usha more than 24 hours to make her first public comments on the issue, when she tweeted asking the wrestlers to come forward with their concerns, promised a "complete investigation to ensure justice" and said a special committee would be formed for future such cases.

Earlier, the Sports Ministry had sought an explanation from the WFI and given then 72 hours for the same. The Delhi Commission of Women also took suo motu notice of the allegations, writing to the Sports Secretary and asking the Deputy Commissioner of Police to divulge details.

This is the third day of the public protest in New Delhi and the wrestlers have said that they are considering filing an FIR and take the legal route if the Indian sports administration cannot give a satisfactory response.