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Protesting wrestlers halt plan to immerse medals in Ganga, give 5-day ultimatum to Centre
Wrestlers' protest
Image: UNI

Protesting wrestlers halt plan to immerse medals in Ganga, give 5-day ultimatum to Centre

| @indiablooms | 30 May 2023, 10:00 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: Protesting ace wrestlers have now shelved their plans to immerse their medals in Ganga at Haridwar after intervention from farmer leader Naresh Tikait.

The wrestlers have now given a five-day deadline for action against wrestling federation chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

The UP police have said they will not deter the wrestlers from their plan to consign the medals to the Ganga.

Visuals from the spot show locals consoling the tearful athletes, asking them to hold on to the medals that came to India through years of hard work and dedication.

If the athletes stick to their resolve, India may lose two Olympic medals and a handful of Commonwealth Games as well as World Championship medals.

Sakshi Malik has won one Olympic bronze and three medals at the Commonwealth Games.

Vinesh Phogat has won two World Championship medals, two medals at Asiad, and three Commonwealth Games medals.

Bajrang Punia has won Olympic bronze, four World Championships medals, two Asian Games, and three Commonwealth Games medals.

The wrestlers, who allege that their protest against the wrestling federation chief has been largely ignored, earlier in the day announced their decision to consign the medals to Ganga.

"It seems that these medals decorated around our necks have no meaning any more," read an emotional 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, referring to Sunday's crackdown that took place as Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new parliament.

"These medals are our lives, our souls. There would be no reason to live after immersing them in the Ganga today. So, we will start a hunger strike until death at India Gate after that," added the statement.

The Delhi Police, who shut the Jantar Mantar protest site to the wrestlers after Sunday's crackdown, said they will not be allowed to hold a protest at India Gate.

The Delhi Police had accused the protesting wrestlers of rioting on Sunday, saying they broke the law in a frenzy despite repeated requests.

On Sunday, the Delhi Police detained protesters as they attempted a protest march to the new parliament.

Visuals of the champions Vinesh Phogat and her cousin Sangeeta Phogat being manhandled and pinned onto the ground by the police had evoked nationwide shock and outrage across the country.

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, a BJP MP, accused of sexually harassing some of the top wrestlers, was present at the inauguration of the new parliament as the police carried out its crackdown barely 5 km away.

He has denied any wrongdoing but added that he is ready to step down if Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the BJP asks him to.

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