Protesting wrestlers reach Haridwar to have their medals immersed in Ganga
India’s top wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat, vowed to immerse their hard won medals in the Ganges in Haridwar on Tuesday evening and then sit on an indefinite hunger strike at India Gate in support of their demands.
The wrestlers, who were detained by the Delhi police and removed from their Jantar Mantar protest site, reached Haridwar to immerse their hard-earned medals in Ganga.
Earlier, the wrestlers tweeted their decision in Hindi after being detained on May 28 and removed from their protest site at Jantar Mantar in the heart of the national capital, barely two kilometres from India Gate.
Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat put out a statement on their respective Twitter handles: “These medals are our lives, our souls. There will be no reason to live after throwing them in the Ganga today. So, we will stage a hunger strike until death at India Gate after that.”
The wrestlers said Prime Minister Narendra Modi “who calls us our daughters” did not even once show his concern for them. “Rather, he invited the ‘oppressor’ (Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh) to the inauguration of the new Parliament building.”
“He even posed for photographs in bright white clothes. We have been stained by this brightness,” the statement said, in the first direct attack on the prime minister by the wrestlers, who have accused Singh, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president, of sexual harassment.
Medals and Ganges
Since April 23, the wrestlers including Vinesh, Sakshi and Bajrang had been protesting at Jantar Mantar, a known protest site. The statement said: “Where is the place for the daughters of India? Have we been reduced to people indulging in mere sloganeering or do we have an agenda to come to power?”
“We are going to immerse these medals in river Ganga… The more sacred we consider the Ganga, the more sacredly we had achieved these medals by toiling hard. These medals are sacred for the whole country and the right place should be in the Ganga itself,” said the statement.
On May 28, Delhi Police cracked down on the wrestlers as they were marching towards the new Parliament building, leading to pushing and shoving by both sides. They were later detained and a case was also registered against them.
Opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee have condemned the Centre over their inaction against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.