India Suspended by World Wrestling Body Following Sexual Misconduct Allegations

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The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has been suspended by the global governing body for not conducting elections after its president, Brij Bhushan Singh, was accused of sexual misconduct. This action was taken in response to the demands of India’s top wrestlers, who staged sit-in protests in New Delhi earlier this year, calling for Singh’s resignation.

Singh, a 66-year-old lawmaker belonging to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is currently on bail after being charged with sexual harassment and stalking. In the wake of this scandal, the WFI leadership was dissolved and fresh elections were scheduled but postponed indefinitely at the last minute.

United World Wrestling (UWW) explained in a statement that the absence of a regularly elected president and board does not comply with its regulations and membership conditions. Consequently, Indian wrestlers will be allowed to compete in the upcoming Asian Games but not under the Indian flag.

Despite denying all charges and claiming to be a victim of a “conspiracy,” Singh faces public backlash. Wrestling is enormously popular in rural northern India, and images of star athletes being detained by police as they attempted to march to parliament in protest went viral on social media.

Anita Sheoran, a Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning wrestler and a witness in a sexual harassment case, has filed her nomination to replace Singh as the WFI president. However, it is anticipated that Singh’s supporters, who belong to a family that is disqualified from contesting the elections, will emerge victorious in any subsequent election.

Notably, Bajrang Punia, one of the wrestlers who led the protests against Singh, will represent India in the Asian Games, which commence on September 23 in Hangzhou.

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