Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik: PM Modi a "spin master", uses women as a "shield"

Rather than invoking 'Nari Shakti' to win votes, oust people like Brij Bhushan Singh, the wrestling champions urge the prime minister

Vinesh Phogat speaks at a wrestlers' protest (photo: National Herald archives)
Vinesh Phogat speaks at a wrestlers' protest (photo: National Herald archives)


Urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "do something" to oust "oppressors" like Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh from Indian sports, the protesting duo of Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik on Tuesday, 19 March, denounced the Indian Olympic Association's (IOA) decision to hand back administrative control of Indian wrestling to the controversy-marred national federation.

In strongly worded posts on X, the two wrestlers — who have accused Singh of sexually harassing women grapplers — called on the PM to intervene.

'The Prime Minister is a spin master, knows how to spin the issue by invoking "mahila shakti (woman power)" to counter the speeches of his rivals. Narendra Modi-ji, you must also know the real truth of us powerful women,' posted Phogat, who is bound for the Olympic qualifiers next month in the 50 kg category.

'Brij Bhushan, who exploited women wrestlers, has again taken over wrestling. It is hoped that you (PM Modi) will not just use women as shields, but will also do something to oust such oppressors from the sports institutions of the country,' the Asian Games gold medallist wrote.

Retired Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik too said that the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) office-bearers were acting as if they were above the law:

'History is witness to the fact that powerful people in this country have played with the honour of women for centuries.

'...the rich miscreant is so powerful that he is above the government, the Constitution and the judiciary," she alleged.

'After the government suspended the wrestling association, Brij Bhushan and Sanjay Singh kept giving statements that this suspension is just a show, we will be reinstated after a few days and we will have control over the wrestling association forever,' Malik continued in her post.

'This proved to be true and this letter from the Indian Olympic Association officially confirmed this and proved that even in this new India, the age-old tradition of insulting women will continue.'

Their outburst comes a day after the Indian Olympic Association dissolved the ad-hoc committee, which was running wrestling-related activities in the country, and handed over the reins to the WFI, led by Brij Bhushan's close aide Sanjay Singh.

The IOA dissolved the panel, saying "there is no further need" for it to continue after revocation of the WFI suspension by United World Wrestling last month.

Veteran sports heroes Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Malik have been protesting against Sanjay Singh, saying the culture of fear that existed during Brij Bhushan's tenure would continue under him too.

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