NEW DELHI : Wrestlers protesting against Wrestling Association President and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh have announced to shed their medals in the Ganges. Wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik issued a statement on social media saying,
“We are going to shed these medals in the Ganga, because she is Ganga Maa.” On the other hand, the Ganga Sabha has opposed the wrestlers. .Yhey said that we will not let the medal in the Ganga as an excuse.
The country’s protesting wrestlers have put on hold their plans to throw their medals in the Ganga in Haridwar after much dissuasion from the locals. He has given five days time to take action against the head of the wrestling federation. Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, a BJP MP who is accused of sexually harassing some top wrestlers
The wrestlers, who have accused wrestling federation chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of largely ignoring their protest, today announced their decision to hand over the medal to Ganga in an emotional message. A statement in Hindi tweeted by top athletes including Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat said, “It seems that these medals decorated around our necks have no meaning any more,” read the statement in Hindi, tweeted out by top athletes including Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat. “The police and the system are treating us as criminals while the harasser openly attacks us in public meetings,” the wrestlers added, refering to Sunday’s crackdown that took place as Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new parliament. The wrestlers said, “The police and the system are treating us like criminals.
Visuals from the scene show locals consoling the tearful athletes, asking them to hold onto the medals that India has brought through years of hard work and dedication. If the athletes stick to their resolve, India could lose two Olympic medals and a handful of Commonwealth Games and World Championship medals. Sakshi Malik has won an Olympic bronze and three medals at the Commonwealth Games. Vinesh Phogat has won two World Championship medals, two medals at the Asiad and three Commonwealth Games medals. Bajrang Punia has won one Olympic bronze, four World Championship medals, two Asian Games and three Commonwealth Games medals. “These medals are our life, our soul. After immersing them in the Ganges today there will be no reason to live. Therefore, we will start a hunger strike till death at India Gate after that.”
On Sunday, Delhi police apprehended Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sangeeta Phogat, Sakshi Malik and numerous others who were endeavoring to advance towards the new Parliament building for a women’s “Mahapanchayat. “The wrestlers who had been holding protests at Jantar Mantar since April 23 to demand the arrest of BJP MP and Wrestling Federation of India head Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, whom they accused of sexually harassing female wrestlers were arrested temporarily and released later.
Protesting wrestlers were accused of disregarding the police’s warning that causing disturbance during the inauguration of the new Parliament building would be detrimental to the nation’s reputation and would not be acceptable. As a result, a First Information Report (FIR) was filed against them.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police, which closed the Jantar Mantar protest site for wrestlers after Sunday’s crackdown, said they would not be allowed to protest at India Gate. Visuals of champion Vinesh Phogat and her cousin Sangeeta Phogat being assaulted and thrown to the ground by police have sparked shock and outrage across the country.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann have hit out at the BJP-led central government. Kejriwal tweeted, “The whole country is shocked… Now the Prime Minister should give up his arrogance.” A large number of people gathered around the wrestlers after their arrival. Some of these people were heard appealing that the wrestlers should not throw their medals in the Ganges.
An hour after the wrestlers arrived, Naresh Tikait, a farmer leader from western Uttar Pradesh, along with his supporters reached Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar to persuade the wrestlers. Earlier, his younger brother Rakesh Tikait had also appealed to the wrestlers not to throw their medals in the Ganges. The wrestlers have handed over their medals to Naresh Tikait.
On the other hand, the Ganga Mahasabha has opposed the wrestlers shedding their medals in the Ganga. The Mahasabha says, “Sanatani people come here for worship. This is not an arena of politics. We will make it an arena of our politics.”
Rakesh Tikait appealed to the wrestlers not to throw their medals in the Ganges. In a tweet, Tikait wrote, “This medal is the pride of the country and the tricolor. We request all the wrestlers not to take such a step.”
(Bureau Report with Media Inputs).