‘Remained silent’: Sakshi Malik attacks PT Usha, Mary Kom for not supporing women wrestlers in sexual harassment case

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Retired wrestler Sakshi Malik on Sunday cast aspersions on iconic sportsperson PT Usha and Mary Kom for not supporting female wrestlers protesting sexual harassment charges against former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Malik expressed disappointment at the lack of support from PT Usha and Mary Kom despite their assurances, during a session at the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters (MBIFL) 2024 at Kanakakkunnu, Kerala.

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Though Usha and Mary Kom were celebrated as “inspirations” by sportspersons like her, they did not speak up for the aggrieved woman wrestlers despite listening to their stories, Sakshi Malik said.

“P T Usha madam had visited our protest venue. We told her in detail about our issues… She could have supported us…But she remained silent despite assuring us that she would stand by us and extend all help,” Malik said.

Kom was a member of the oversight committee formed to probe into the sexual harassment charges against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and submit a report.

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Sakshi Malik recalled that the boxing icon turned “very emotional” when the complainants narrated the shocking details. She also said that Kom heard the stories of each woman wrestler as she was on the panel. “After listening to the stories, she became very emotional… like I am sorry… I feel so bad… she also said she would stand by us,” she said. But, there was no solution even after months had passed, Sakshi Malik added.

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Top wrestlers including Malik, Bajrang Punia, and Vinesh Phogat staged a sit-in protest demanding the arrest of Bhushan over sexual harassment allegations.

Later, Punia had returned his Padma Shri award to the government in protest over Bhushan’s aide, Sanjay Singh, being elected as the WFI chief. Malik too had quit wrestling for the same reason.

The MBIFL which began on February 8 would be concluded on February 11. The theme for this year’s edition of the literary event is ‘Exploring Plurality’ — a 360-degree attempt at understanding diverse perspectives, cultures, and identities.

 

 

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Published: 11 Feb 2024, 01:43 PM IST

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