Tears proof of govt's shamelessness, Sakshi retirement dark chapter in Indian sports: Congress

Party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala claimed Brij Bhushan Singh's aide being elected as the new WFI president has shattered the hopes of millions of India's daughters

Wrestlers Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia at a media conference following the WFI elections (screengrab from @SakshiMalik/X)
Wrestlers Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia at a media conference following the WFI elections (screengrab from @SakshiMalik/X)


A day after a tearful Olympic medal winner Sakshi Malik announced her retirement from wrestling, the Congress said every single tear of the wrestler is proof of the shamelessness of the Modi government and is a dark chapter in the sporting history of the country.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in Delhi, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said, "Brajbhushan Singh's tantra and Modi government's supporting mantra is a conspiracy with justice."

He said every tear drop from the eyes of the farmer's daughter and wrestler Malik is proof of the government's shamelessness. Surjewala added that "making daughters cry, tormenting daughters and make them sit at home" has become the sports policy of the BJP government. "Why is the Parliament and the government silent on the tears of players, helplessness of daughters, which is hampering sports?" he asked.

He also said Olympic medal winner Malik announcing her retirement after the election of Sanjay Singh as president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), seen as a 'nominee' of BJP MP and former WFI president Brij Bhushan Singh, who stands accused of sexually harassing women wrestlers, is a dark chapter in the sport's history.

“The Modi government is directly responsible for atrocities and injustice against champion women wrestlers. This shows that the daughters who raise their voice for justice will be forced to retire and sent home, and the culprits will ally with the pillars of power, and make fun of the daughters' helplessness,” the Congress leader said.

"Perhaps that is why Brij Bhushan Singh, accused of sexual exploitation, said after the wrestling association elections, 'dabdaba tha, dabdaba rahega'," he said.

Surjewala said while dismissing the daughters who were pleading for justice, the BJP MP also said: “Those wrestlers who want to do politics, should do politics, and those who want to do wrestling, should wrestle.”

He also said it is the misfortune of the country that the daughter of an ordinary farmer family of Haryana, born in Mokhra village of Rohtak, went on to bring an Olympic medal for the country, and today the “clout” of the Modi government had forced her to go back home.

"The wrestler daughters of the country sat at Jantar Mantar in the scorching afternoon for 39 days, knocking on the doors of Parliament and sobbing to demand justice, but instead of giving justice, the BJP government crushed them using the Delhi Police and dragged them on the streets," he said.

He said this was the situation despite the fact that the wrestlers had complained about the atrocities against them even to the prime minister, home minister and sports minister.

"Even at that time, the daughters of the country had to approach the Supreme Court just to register an FIR. After the Supreme Court order, BJP's Delhi Police registered an FIR, but did not arrest BJP MP Brij Bhushan Singh saying that the case was registered under non-bailable sections," the Congress leader said.

"What could be a bigger national shame than the fact that the wrestler daughters who brought glory to the country all over the world were forced to take the drastic step of sacrificing their medals in the river Ganga to demand justice. The only reason is that BJP MP Brij Bhushan Singh is favoured by the Modi government.'

He also alleged that all the sports associations of the country, from the WFI to the Board of Control for Cricket in India, are under the control of Modi government and BJP leaders.

"On the one hand, the BJP government says it has freed sports associations from political interference, but the reality is the opposite. What could be more shameful than this that even after such huge atrocities against the wrestler daughters, the BJP government does not want to free the Indian wrestling association from the hold of its favourite MP Brij Bhushan Singh?" he asked .

He asked if Modi did not find even a single female sportsperson or "gentleman" in the country who could take charge of the wrestling body.

"If such things continue, who will the daughters and their families trust to send their daughters to compete for the country? This atrocity did not happen only with Malik and other wrestlers, this atrocity has broken the hopes of crores of daughters of the country, and the Modi government is responsible for this," he alleged.

He said that the daughters of the country also have questions: Why is Modi government silent? Why is the Parliament of the country silent on the sobs and tears of the farmer's wrestler daughters? Why are the country's sports world and its famous personalities silent? So should it be accepted that now dominance, fear and injustice are normal in New India?

The remarks from the Congress leader came a day after 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medalist Malik announced quitting Wrestling following Sanjay Singh being elected as president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

Malik removed her shoes and put it on the dais before leaving the press conference in tears here.

"I am dejected and I will not be competing in wrestling anymore," an emotional Malik said.

Sanjay Singh is a close aide of former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Singh, who was deposed following a lengthy agitation by a group of grapplers led by Olympians Bajrang Punia, Sakshi and Vinesh Phogat.

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