The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has formed a seven-member committee to investigate sexual harassment allegations against the Wrestling Federation of India's (WFI) chief, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The committee is led by Olympians Mary Kom and Yogeshwar Dutt, and includes four other members with expertise in legal, sports, and gender issues.
The allegations against Singh first surfaced in December 2021, when a female wrestler sent a complaint to the IOA, accusing Singh of sexually harassing her. Following the complaint, the IOA conducted an initial investigation and found that there was enough evidence to warrant a full-fledged probe.
The decision to form a committee to investigate the allegations has been met with mixed reactions. Some have praised the IOA for taking swift action and for including experts in the committee who can provide a fair and impartial investigation. However, others have raised concerns about the composition of the committee, pointing out that Singh is still the chief of the WFI and has not resigned from his position.
This raises questions about the independence of the committee and the ability of its members to conduct a fair and impartial investigation. The fact that Singh is still in charge of the WFI means that he could potentially influence the outcome of the investigation or put pressure on witnesses and other individuals involved in the case.
Furthermore, some wrestlers have also raised concerns about the lack of representation of wrestlers on the committee. They argue that since the allegations are against the chief of the WFI, it would be appropriate to have at least one wrestler on the committee to ensure that their perspectives and concerns are taken into account.
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Despite these concerns, the IOA has stated that the committee will have full autonomy to conduct the investigation and that it will be guided by the principles of natural justice. The IOA has also assured that the committee will have access to all relevant documents and witnesses and that it will be provided with all the necessary resources to carry out its investigation.
The IOA has also stated that the committee will be required to submit a report of its findings within two months of its formation. The report will be made public and will be shared with the IOA, the WFI, and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
The IOA has also stated that if the committee finds that the allegations against Singh are true, it will take appropriate action, which could include suspension or termination of Singh's tenure as the chief of the WFI.
खिलाड़ी देश का गौरव हैं, उन्हें न्याय के लिए इस तरह से बिलखते देख बहुत पीड़ा हो रही है।#WFIमामले पर केंद्र सरकार और हरियाणा सरकार को अपनी चुप्पी तोड़नी चाहिये और दोषियों के खिलाफ कड़ी कारवाई करनी चाहिये।pic.twitter.com/pl5uyR7UqS
In conclusion, the formation of the committee to investigate the sexual harassment allegations against the WFI chief, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, is a positive step taken by the IOA. However, the fact that Singh is still in charge of the WFI and that the committee does not have any wrestler representation raises concerns about the independence and fairness of the investigation. The IOA must ensure that the committee is given full autonomy to conduct the investigation and that it has access to all relevant documents and witnesses. The report of the findings should also be made public and appropriate action should be taken if the allegations are found to be true.