Eminent wrestlers like Vinesh Phogat Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik have taken to the streets demanding justice on the sexual harassment allegations leveled against the chief of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). Awaiting action, wrestlers are sleeping on the streets, urging authorities to file an FIR against Wrestling Federation of India President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over ‘MeToo’ allegations. Meanwhile, Vinesh Phogat has questioned the silence of star Indian cricketers and many other top Indian players.
Vinesh, in conversation with The Indian Express, strongly criticized the country’s top cricketers and questioned their silence on the matter. She asked why they remain quiet when they frequently comment on the achievements of athletes in events such as the Olympics or Commonwealth Games on social media. She stated, “The whole country worships cricket, but not a single cricketer is saying anything. We are not asking you to speak for us, but at least give a message and say that for any player Justice must be done. This is where it hurts.” Furthermore, she emphasized that this message applies to all athletes, whether they are cricketers, badminton players, athletes, boxers, or otherwise.
“It’s not that we don’t have big athletes in our country. There are cricketers… They showed their support during the Black Lives Matter movement in America. Are we not even worth it?” Vinesh asked whether there are any arrangements with the cricketers and other players to keep quiet, or if they are scared of the ‘system’. “But we don’t know what they’re afraid of. I understand they might be concerned that it could impact their brand endorsements. Perhaps that’s why they’re hesitant to align themselves with athletes. But it’s painful,” she said.
“When we achieve something, you come forward to congratulate us. Cricketers also tweet. What happened now? Are you afraid of the system? Or maybe there is something suspicious going on there too. ‘Unke dal me bhi kaala hai, yeh maan ke chale hum?'”, Vinesh stated. She further mentioned that those who remain silent on this issue do not possess a heart. People often say that wrestlers have their brains in their knees, but Vinesh disagrees. “I would say that our heart, mind… everything is in the right place. Other athletes need to assess where their minds are. ‘Dil to unke paas hai nahi’,” she added.
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The Indian wrestler also told the cricketers and other athletes that if they cannot support her at this time, then they should not support him even if she wins a medal for the country. She said, “You put pictures, you promote the brand… can’t you put a post that justice should be done to us. That’s all we request.” “If we don’t deserve your support in this time of struggle, God willing, if we win a medal tomorrow – and we will work very hard for it, then don’t come to congratulate us. Don’t say you don’t believe in our abilities.” Had faith. That’s why now you are doubting us. Vinesh Phogat’s allegations are clearly from top players of other sports. Now it has to be seen whether top players of other sports come out in support of wrestlers or not?