Guwahati: Gauhati High Court on Sunday stayed the Wrestling Federation of India elections, which were scheduled to be held on July 11.
The ruling came on a plea filed by the Assam Wrestling Federation, seeking a stay on the WFI elections. The elections, which were initially scheduled to be held on July 6, were pushed back to July 11 earlier. The polling was to be conducted from 11 am to 1.20 pm.
The counting of votes was to start from 1.30 pm and the results were to be declared on the same day — July 11.
The polls were scheduled amid a protest by several prominent wrestlers, including Olympians Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, and Vinesh Phogat, seeking the arrest and removal of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, over allegations of sexual harassment.
The protest was launched near the iconic Jantar Mantar in the national capital at the start of this year.
Earlier, on June 13, the newly-appointed returning officer for WFI elections, Mahesh Mittal Kumar, released a statement announcing July 6 as the date for holding the polls to the country’s top wrestling body.
The process of filing nominations was to start from June 19.
“Whereas, the undersigned has been appointed as the Returning Officer by the Indian Olympic Association vide its letter No. IOA/I-28/2023/1350 dated 12th June 2023 for the purpose of conducting the election of the Executive Committee of the Wrestling Federation of India(WFI), which is an affiliate member of the Indian Olympic Association(IOA),” the statement by the office of the returning officer read.
The Indian Olympics Association (IOA) organised a three-member ad hoc committee in April as mandated by the Sports Ministry, and two members were named to oversee WFI’s day-to-day activities and pick wrestlers for international events in the interim.
Earlier, after a meeting with Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, star Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia said he was assured that the probe by Delhi Police into the allegations against the WFI chief would be completed by June 15.
Delhi Police subsequently filed a chargesheet against the WFI chief, while recommending cancellation of the complaint filed by a minor wrestler, alleging sexual harassment. They sought a withdrawal of the case after the minor and her father retracted their earlier statements