IOA President PT Usha has formed a committee to investigate the WFI allegations ©Getty Images

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has formed a seven-person committee to look into the sexual harassment allegations made by athletes against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Vinesh Phogat, a three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, publicly accused Singh of misconduct - suggesting many others had been harassed by him in the past.

Phogat and other members of the men's and women's national team protested at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, calling for action to be taken and an investigation from the IOA and the removal of Singh from his position.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police and Sports Secretary had been asked to look into the matter, while IOA President PT Usha promised an investigation from their organisation.

A day later, Usha has created a group which consists of boxing great Mary Kom, archer Dola Banerjee and Indian Weightlifting Federation President Sahdev Yadav, following an emergency Executive Council meeting to consider the protesters' demands made in a letter.

"We will sit and listen to everyone and do an unbiased investigation after looking at the charges and try to give a fair justice," said Yadav to Indian news agency ANI.

Alaknanda Ashok, IOA joint secretary, and London 2012 Olympic wrestling bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt are part of the group that also consists of two advocates.

Protests were led by one of India's most-decorated wrestlers, Vinesh Phogat, centre ©Getty Images
Protests were led by one of India's most-decorated wrestlers, Vinesh Phogat, centre ©Getty Images

In 2019, Dutt joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the same political party that Singh is an Indian Member of Parliament for.

Kom's husband, K Onkholer, has been closely associated with the BJP too.

Other demands made by the protesting wrestlers were to disband the WFI and form a new committee to run the organisation in collaboration with the athletes.

Olympic medallists from Tokyo Ravi Dahiya and Bajrang Punia signed the letter to the IOA, as did Rio 2016 bronze medallist Sakshi Malik, who became the first Indian female wrestler to stand on the Olympic podium.

"It has taken a lot of courage for us wrestlers to come together and protest against the WFI President," read the rest of the letter.

"We fear for our lives. 

"If he is not sacked then the careers of all the young who joined the dharna will be over."

Wrestlers met with Anurag Thakur, the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, for four hours.

This led to the Ministry giving the WFI 72 hours to respond to the allegations formally.

Singh rejected calls to resign from his position, adding that if he starts to speak about the matter "it will cause a tsunami", when speaking to Indian media.