Kolkata, Aug 24: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday lambasted the Union government over the decision of the United World Wrestling (UWW), the international governing body of the sport, to suspend Wrestling Federation of India’s (WFI) membership with immediate effect for not holding elections.
The suspension means that Indian wrestlers will not be able to compete in the upcoming World Championships under the tricolour, and instead will have to compete as ‘neutral athletes’. Also, if an Indian wrestlers makes it to the podium, the national anthem will not be played.
Soon after the news surfaced, Banerjee issued a strongly-worded message on her X (formerly Twitter) handle criticising the Centre in the matter, describing the development as a matter of grave embarrassment for the entire nation.
“The United World Wrestling (UWW) has suspended the Wrestling Federation of India. It is a matter of grave embarrassment for the whole nation. The Central government has let down our wrestlers by being shamefully arrogant and by being cavalier and dismissive towards the plight of our wrestler sisters,” her message read.
She also accused the Union government and the BJP of harassing "our indomitable sisters with misogyny and crude male chauvinism".
“India should stand against and punish those who are left with no moral compass and who cannot stand up for the dignity of the nation's fighting daughters. The day of reckoning is not too far,” her message read.
It may be recalled that several top female wrestlers of the country had recently held a prolonged protest demanding the arrest of former WFI chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh whom they accused of sexually harassing female grapplers.
This is not the first time that the Chief Minister has lambasted the Centre and the BJP on the issue of harassment of Indian wrestlers. In May, she had condemned the alleged manhandling of the wrestlers by Delhi Police personnel in the national capital.
“Strongly condemn the way Delhi Police manhandled Sakshi Malik, Dinesh Phogat and other wrestlers. It’s shameful that our champions are treated in this manner. Democracy lies in tolerance but autocratic forces thrive on intolerance and quelling dissent. I demand they be immediately released by the police. I stand by our wrestlers,” the Chief Minister had said then. (IANS)