New Delhi, Aug 24 (EFE).- The United World Wrestling (UWW) on Thursday suspended the membership of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) due to its failure to hold elections on time, following long-standing allegations of sexual harassment involving its top officials.
“UWW, the world governing body for wrestling, has suspended the WFI for not holding its elections on time,” an official at the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) told Indian news agency PTI.
In April, the Indian Olympic Association appointed a delegation to organize fresh elections within 45 days for the wrestling federation, following the prolonged sexual harassment allegations against the federation’s top officials.
The body was supposed to conduct fresh elections before June 30. However, the elections were suspend several times due to the sexual abuses controversy and the lengthy protests by India’s leading wrestlers.
As a consequence of this suspension, Indian wrestlers will now be required to compete as “neutral athletes” in the Olympic qualifying World Championships starting September 16.
The country’s prominent wrestlers in January had accused WFI Chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and some coaches of sexually abusing and intimidating a group of women within the federation for several years.
Later, after an government probe failed to result in concrete actions, in April the top wrestlers held street protests in Delhi demanding Singh’s resignation and other action against him, with the government cracking down on the stir.
However, the demonstrations ended following the wrestlers’ meeting federal ministers, even as the cases against the WFI president continue in courts.
Singh has consistently refuted all charges and allegations as a political conspiracy and has refused to resign from his position. EFE