After the protesting Indian wrestlers gave a five-day ultimatum to the Union government to address their demands over MeToo allegations, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday, May 31 released a statement in support of the athletes.The wrestlers have been protesting in New Delhi for weeks, demanding the arrest of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president and Bharatiya Janata Party MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has been accused of sexual harassment by several female wrestlers.The IOC has also demanded an ‘unbiased, criminal investigation’ to be conducted in the matter.It also asked the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to protect the athletes, and to make sure that the elections of WFI happen soon as planned.A day earlier, United World Wrestling — an international governing body whose duties include overseeing wrestling at the Olympics — had warned of suspending WFI and forcing India to compete at the Olympics under a neutral flag if WFI elections were delayed. “The treatment of the Indian wrestling athletes over the weekend was very disturbing.The IOC insists that the allegations by the wrestlers are followed up on by an unbiased, criminal investigation in line with local law.We understand that a first step towards such a criminal investigation has been made, but more steps have to follow before concrete actions become visible.We urge that the safety and wellbeing of these athletes is duly considered throughout this process and that this investigation will be speedily concluded,” IOC said in its statement.The International Olympic Committee reacts to the #WrestlersProtest in— ESPN India (@ESPNIndia) May 31, 2023It further added, “From the very beginning of the allegations, the IOC has been in close contact with United World Wrestling (UWW), which has already taken measures.The IOC supports UWW as the competent sporting authority to address this issue as it pertains to the governance of the sport of wrestling in India.We have been informed by UWW that the President of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is currently not in charge.The IOC will continue to support UWW in all their efforts and in the framework of the IOC Guidelines for International Federations and NOCs for safeguarding athletes from harassment and abuse in sport.

The IOC also urges the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to take all necessary actions to protect the athletes and to make sure that the elections of WFI are happening as planned and in line with the regulations of UWW as an International Federation.”Read: ‘Wrestlers deserve justice like all citizens’: Tovino Thomas, Anjali Menon show supportFor more than a month, Indian wrestlers, including Olympians Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, and Bajrang Punia, have been demanding action against Brij Bhushan over the sexual harassment allegations and other complaintsOn May 28, the protests reached a crescendo with the police manhandling and detaining the protestors trying to enter the new Parliament building being inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while Brij Bhushan was inside the Parliament.The police subsequently dismantled the protesters’ tent from Jantar Mantar, and forcefully removed them.Since then, many Opposition leaders, sportspersons and few film industry persons have been voicing out their support for the wrestlers.Also Read: Mamata Banerjee joins protest rally in Kolkata on wrestlers’ issueRead: ‘Disgrace that govt hasn’t responded’: Filmmaker Pa Ranjith on wrestler’s protestSign up to get Daily Wrap in your inbox* indicates requiredEmail Address *First Name

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