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Protesting Indian wrestlers to immerse their medals in Ganga, sit on indefinite hunger strike

Protesting Indian wrestlers Sakshee Malikkh, Sangeeta Phogat, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia have decided to throw their medals in the Ganges and sit on indefinite hunger strike at the India Gate. This decision comes a day after the protesting wrestlers were detained by Delhi Police from their protest site near the Jantar Mantar.
Taking to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, wrestlers Sakshee Malikkh, Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Sangeeta Phogat shared a statement in Hindi which announces that they would go to Haridwar and immerse their medals in river Ganga at 6 pm on Tuesday.


The wrestlers’ statement reads in Hindi, “These medals are our lives, our souls. There would be no reason to live after immersing them in the Ganga today. We will stage a hunger strike until death at India Gate after that…”

Sakshee congratulates CSK on IPL win

The first female Indian wrestler to win an Olympic medal, Sakshee Malikkh on Tuesday morning took a jibe at the current situation of the Indian wrestlers who are fighting for justice. While congratulating Indian Premier League 2023 winning team Chennai Super Kings under the captaincy of cricketer M S Dhoni, the wrestler tweeted on Tuesday, “Congratulations MS Dhoni ji and CSK. We are happy that at least some sportspersons are getting respect and love they deserve. For us, the fight for justice is still on.”
Sakshee’s tweet comes at a time when top Indian wrestlers have been protesting for over a month demanding the arrest of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on the grounds of alleged sexual harassment of female athletes.
WFI Chief Brij Bhushan has been accused of sexually harassing women wrestlers. While, seven women wrestlers have reportedly filed a police complaint against him, two FIRs have been registered by the police.
The wrestlers began protesting in January this year. After the initial phase of the protest, the sit-in at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar resumed from 23rd April.

Wrestlers detained

Wrestlers Sangeeta Phogat and Vinesh Phogat while being detained by the police


Vinesh Phogat, Sakshee Malikkh, Sangeeta Phogat and Bajrang Punia and a few other wrestlers, who have been protesting at at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar for over a month, were detained by Delhi Police on Sunday, May 28 as they tried to march to the new Parliament building during its inauguration and released later. While the female wrestlers were released around 7.20 pm the same day, wrestler Bajrang Punia was detained for almost 10 hours.
The protesting wrestlers have been living in makeshift tents at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar for nearly 35 days. After detaining the wrestlers, the police along with paramilitary personnel reportedly dismantled their tents and removed their belongings and cleared the protest site within minutes.

Bajrang Punia reacts

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new Parliament Building in Delhi on Sunday. Reacting to the accused WFI Chief being present at the inauguration, protesting wrestler Bajrang Punia called it ‘unfortunate’. After he was released, Bajrang addressed the media and vented, “It is unfortunate for our country that the new Parliament building was being inaugurated and an accused was present.”

Sakshee seeks support

The protesting wrestlers were not only detained by Delhi Police, but a case has also been registered against them. Wrestler Sakshee Malikkh released a video message on social media on Monday evening, where she spoke about the condition of the protesting wrestlers including being detained by the police and urged her fans and followers to stand by the wrestlers in the present time.
In the video message, Sakshee said in Hindi, “We were marching peacefully when the police detained us. The police have lodged FIRs against us whereas we have not caused any damage to any person or any public property. At least 20 police personnel handled a female wrestler where they have applied force on us, which you can see from the videos. Today throughout the day, we have been planning the next steps of this protest. We will reveal our decision soon. Meanwhile, all I want to tell our supporters is that, we are not going to back out, our protest will continue. Please keep supporting us.”
Sharing her video message, the wrestler tweeted, “Heartfelt gratitude to all the countrymen who have supported till now. Our movement is not over yet. He is not the one to give up in the fight for justice. Will tell you the next plan of the movement very soon.”

Reactions supporting wrestlers

Sharing a video of the wrestlers being detained by the police, Sakshee Malikkh tweeted on Sunday, “This is how our champions are being treated. The world is watching us!” Ever since, reactions have been flooding social media from celebrities as well as netizens, criticising police action and supporting the wrestlers.


Reacting to Sakshee’s tweet video, Olympic gold medal winning champion Indian Javelin Thrower Neeraj Chopra tweeted, “Yeh dekhkar mujhe bohut dukh ho raha hai (I am very upset after watching this.) There has to be a better way to deal with this.”
“I’m so sad to see the visuals of our Athletes…. Please solve this ASAP,” tweeted former Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan.
Skipper of Indian National Football team Sunil Chhetri also tweeted, “Why does it have to come down to our wrestlers being dragged around without any consideration? This isn’t the way to treat anyone. I really hope this whole situation is assessed the way it should be.”
Industrialist Parth Jindal, scion of the JSW group, which owns the Delhi Capitals IPL cricket team, also reacted in support of Indian wrestlers. Taking to Twitter, he wrote, “These are our champions – they have worn the tricolour with pride and we have heard Jana Gana Mana on foreign soil because of them – no matter what their issues are and how they are being investigated they have a right to protest and no one and I mean no one should mistreat them – they deserve respect – really pains me to see how our wrestlers are being handled @Phogat_Vinesh @SakshiMalik @BajrangPunia.”