Haridwar- Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) national president Naresh Tikait on Tuesday arrived in Haridwar and took away the medals from the wrestlers seeking a five-day time period from them. The wrestlers have gathered in Haridwar to immerse their medals in Ganga River to mark their protests againt the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has been accused of sexual harassment.
Olympic medalist wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik alongside Vinesh Phogat, who have accused the WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual harassment and have been demanding his arrest, reached Uttarakhand’s Haridwar to immerse all of their medals including Olympic medals in the Ganga River on Tuesday evening.
A sizeable crowd also gathered to witness the incident as the wrestlers resorted to immerse their medals for which they have put together a lot of hard work. Women wrestlers were sitting on the ground and were emotional.
Earlier a tweet in Hindi by BKU spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said, “National President of Bhartiya Kisan Union and head of Balian Khap, Chaudhary Naresh Tikait ji and heads of other khaps are reaching Haridwar soon to meet wrestlers. All wrestlers are requested not to take wrong steps.”
Taking to Twitter, the wrestlers had shared a post about the chain of events that unfolded in recent days and how the authorities have handled the situation. They said that they will visit Haridwar and throw medals in the Ganga at 6 pm today. They also said that they will sit on a hunger strike at India Gate after throwing away their medals.
The post read, “You saw everything that happened on May 28, how police treated us and the way they arrested us. We were protesting peacefully, our place has been taken away and the next day serious cases and FIR were filed against us. Have the wrestlers committed any crime by demanding justice for the sexual harassment that happened to them? The police and the system are treating us like criminals, while the oppressor is taking jibe moving freely. He is even openly talking about changing the POSCO Act.”
It may be noted that several top wrestlers including the likes of Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik have been protesting against the WFI chief having accused him of sexual harassment and demanded his arrest. They also questioned how women wrestlers had to hide for the entire day.
The grapplers said, “Yesterday, many of our women wrestlers were hiding in the fields. The system should arrest the oppressor but it is engaged in breaking and intimidating the victim women to end their protest.” They said that these medals are left with no meaning.
They said, “It is not less than death for us thinking of returning medals but how can we live compromising our self-respect? We don’t need these medals anymore. If we speak against exploitation, they prepare to put us in jail.”
“We are going to shed these medals in the Ganga. Our medals which we earned after hard work are as sacred as River Ganga. These medals are sacred for the entire country and the right place to keep the sacred medal can be holy Ganga and not our unholy system which masquerades us and stands with our oppressor after taking advantage of us. The medal is our life, our soul. We will sit on hunger strike at India gate till death,” the wrestlers added.
Earlier on Sunday, protesting wrestlers including Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sangeeta Phogat were detained by Delhi Police after they attempted to march to the new parliament building where they had planned to stage a demonstration. An FIR was filed under Sections 147, 149, 186, 188, 332 and 353 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and Section 3 of the PDPP Act, said Delhi Police.
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