Candlelight march by Indian wrestlers demanding arrest of sports officials for sexual abuse.

Nearly 1,000 demonstrators led by India’s top female wrestlers participated in a candlelight march in the capital on Tuesday demanding the resignation and arrest of Indian Wrestling Federation president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The federation has been accused of sexually harassing young athletes, one of whom was a minor. The protesters marched to India Gate, carrying the Indian flag, and were accompanied by a strong police force. The protests, which began in January, have escalated with opposition lawmakers and farmers’ unions backing the wrestlers’ cause. Olympic medalists Bajran Punia and Sakshi Malik have also joined the protests, threatening to return their medals if no action is taken.

Singh, a prominent lawmaker representing the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, denies the allegations of sexually harassing seven young female wrestlers. World Championship, Commonwealth Games, and Asian Games wrestling medalist Vinesh Phogat said in January that several coaches were exploiting female wrestlers on orders from the WFI president. Indian police are investigating allegations of sexual harassment against Singh, who is under investigation. India’s Supreme Court confirmed that the case contained “serious allegations of sexual harassment,” but ruling party leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have remained silent.

The protests have continued for almost a month in central New Delhi, with the demonstrators forgoing their training schedules despite scorching heat. The incident has once again highlighted the #MeToo movement in India, which gained momentum in 2018 as dozens of actresses and writers flooded social media with allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

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