Wrestling Federation of India elections assured by June 30, Sports Minister informs protesting wrestlers

Sports Minister Anurag Thakur promises completion of sexual harassment investigation against former WFI president by June 15.

In a recent development, Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur has assured the protesting wrestlers that the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) elections will be held by June 30. This announcement came after Thakur’s meeting with the wrestlers in New Delhi on June 7, where he also pledged the completion of the police investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against former WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh by June 15.

During the meeting, Anurag Thakur assured the wrestlers that chargesheets would be submitted as a result of the ongoing investigation and promised to keep them informed about its progress. The athletes had demanded the arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and expressed their concerns about his potential re-election as WFI president, given that he had already served three terms.


Anurag Thakur stated, “I had a long 6-hour discussion with the wrestlers. We have assured wrestlers that the probe will be completed by 15th June and chargesheets will be submitted. The election of WFI will be done by 30th June.” He further mentioned that an internal complaint committee, headed by a woman, would be established within the Wrestling Federation of India.

The wrestlers, including Olympic medalists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, have agreed not to hold any protests until June 15. They requested the withdrawal of all FIRs filed against them during the course of their protest. Bajrang Punia, speaking to the press after the meeting, conveyed that the government had agreed to their request for quashing the FIRs. However, if no action is taken by June 15, the wrestlers have stated that they will continue their protest.

This meeting with the Sports Minister marks the second interaction between the protesting wrestlers and a top government official, following their meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday. The resolution of the months-long deadlock between the wrestlers and the government seems to be in sight, as Anurag Thakur provided the athletes with clear timelines and assurances.

It is worth noting that the wrestlers initiated their protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi in January, alleging sexual harassment by WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. They had previously met with Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, which led to the formation of a probe committee. Dissatisfied with the response from top officials and the lack of action against Brij Bhushan, the wrestlers returned to the protest site last month.

In May, the United World Wrestling (UWW) threatened to suspend the Wrestling Federation of India if it failed to provide information about the proposed next elective general assembly. The Ministry of Sports had previously suspended the WFI and its activities in response to the wrestlers’ initial protest.

The UWW also expressed disappointment over the treatment of the wrestlers during the protest, including their temporary detention at the protest site. In a bid to draw attention to their demands, the protesting wrestlers had even threatened to immerse their medals in the River Ganga on May 30.

As the government and the wrestlers work towards resolving the issues surrounding the WFI and addressing the allegations of sexual harassment, the promised elections by June 30 provide a glimmer of hope for the future of Indian wrestling.