Amid poll, women wrestlers’ issue fires up Haryana villagers : The Tribune India

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Amid poll, women wrestlers’ issue fires up Haryana villagers

‘Brij Bhushan and his supporters will pay the price in elections’ is the common refrain

Amid poll, women wrestlers’ issue fires up Haryana villagers

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh - File photo



Deepender Deswal/

Ravinder Saini

Tribune News Service

Hisar/Rohtak, May 15

Small dusty villages like Sisay in Hisar, Mokhra in Rohtak and Balali in Charkhi Dadri are tuned in to elections as politics is their favourite pastime. But when it comes to sports, wrestling in particular, they get serious. That’s why they passionately supported women wrestlers in their struggle for justice in connection with sexual harassment allegations against former Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

They are still keeping a track of the case, in which the court has framed charges against him. The BJP has denied ticket to Brij Bhushan and replaced him with his son Karan Bhushan Singh from Kaiserganj in UP.

Ajit of Sisay village in Hisar, which has its own history of women wrestling in India, says, “Though everything is fair in politics, but when it comes to wrestling and women wrestling, we are uncompromising.”

It was this sentiment that drove the wrestlers from Haryana, backed by people, who dented the dominance of WFI’s former president in wrestling circles. With the court framing charges, wrestlers and coaches feel that his ‘dabdaba’ will end soon.

At Mokhra village, 20 km from Rohtak — home to India’s first and only woman wrestler who won a medal in Olympics, Sakshi Malik, villagers are busy playing cards while discussing politics.

Questions about the political scenario fail to stir them, but as soon as the wrestlers’ agitation comes up for discussion, everyone chips in, with remarks ranging from anger to disgust aimed at Brij Bhushan, and those who supported him. “They will have to pay the price in the elections” was the common refrain. At Sisay, wrestling coach Usha Sharma says, “Girls have to struggle with their families, and then with the system to keep themselves in the reckoning in sports. If anything untoward happens, it must be dealt with strictly. The guilty must get the severest of punishment.”

Sisay is synonymous with wrestling for the past over five decades. It is the native village of famed wrestler and coach Master Chandi Ram, who set up Chandgi Ram Akhara in Delhi.

The 2010 Commonwealth gold medallist wrestler Anita Sheoran of Dhani Mahu village in Bhiwani district — who had unsuccessfully contested the post of WFI president — says an overhaul is needed to clean up the rot in the WFI. “The situation has changed for something better,” she says, adding that it is a long battle. Mahavir Phogat, father of wrestlers Geeta and Babita, asserts, “Mahaul to badla hai. Let’s hope for the best.”

#Hisar #Rohtak


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