Wrestlers to continue protest: Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia
The wrestlers met Union home minister Amit Shah on June 3 to demand an impartial probe and the arrest of Brij Bhushan Singh
Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia on Monday asserted that none of the wrestlers have backed down from the protest and they would continue their fight for justice.
Malik was responding to media reports claiming she withdrew from the ongoing wrestlers’ protest against WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia resumed their work on May 31, days after the protesting wrestlers were evicted from Jantar Mantar in Delhi — where they had been protesting since April. "We have resumed our duties in Railways, but we are also working on our future strategy," she said.
Taking to Twitter, 30-year-old Malik wrote: "This news is completely wrong. In the fight for justice, none of us has backed down, nor will we. Along with Satyagraha, I am fulfilling my responsibility in Railways. Our fight continues till justice is served. Please don’t spread any wrong news."
Satyawart Kadian, wrestler and husband of Malik, also reiterated that they have not stepped back from the protest.
Punia too tweeted that the news of the wrestlers withdrawing from the protest was false. "The news is being spread to harm us. We have neither retreated nor have we withdrawn the movement. The news of the women withdrawing the FIR is also false. The fight will continue till justice is served," Punia tweeted.
"Do those who spread fake news even realise the trauma that women wrestlers are going through? Weak media has legs that start trembling in front of a goon's hunter, not a female wrestler," Vinesh Phogat later tweeted.
To conclude her tweet, Vinesh quoted Urdu poet Abid Adeeb, "Jahah pohonch ke kadam dagmagaye hain sab ke usi mukam se ab apna raasta hoga (Where everyone's steps have wavered to reach, from the same place will now have its way)."
The wrestlers had also met home minister Amit Shah on Saturday evening to request him for an impartial probe against Singh, who has been accused of sexual harassment by seven female wrestlers, including a minor.
Amit Shah assured the wrestlers that the law remains the same for everyone, it's learnt. "Let the law take its own course," he reportedly told the wrestlers.
Malik said that they had a "normal" conversation with Shah. "We had only one demand—to arrest Brij Bhushan Singh. We will continue our protest until we get justice," she said.
The protesting wrestlers had reportedly sought a meeting with Shah after their five-day deadline for action against the wrestling federation chief ended on Saturday.
The wrestlers had last month announced their decision to immerse their medals into the river Ganga in Haridwar. However, they temporarily shelved their plan after intervention from Khap leader Naresh Tikait.
Bajrang, Sakshi along with fellow Olympian and World Championship medallist Vinesh Phogat have been protesting against the WFI chief for more than a month in the national capital, demanding his resignation.
FIRs have been registered in the case and officials said that the Delhi Police is expected to file a chargesheet soon.
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur had urged the wrestlers to "fully cooperate with a fair investigation" and let "the law take its own course".
The last high-level meeting between the protesting wrestlers and government representatives was held on May 27, on the eve of the new Parliament’s inauguration.
As the talks were inconclusive, the wrestlers, along with their supporters, went ahead with their plans to march to the new Parliament. They were stopped on the way, manhandled and detained by the Delhi Police. The police also filed an FIR against them under multiple sections, including rioting.
The United World Wrestling (UWW), the sport's governing body, too issued a statement condemning the detention of the wrestlers and criticizing the "lack of results" in the investigations against Singh.