Sakshi Malik, Wrestlers Protest
Malik acknowledged the existence of significant pressure on them to compromise and accused Brij Bhushan of leveraging his influence to manipulate the situation.

Wrestlers’ stir | Will consult everyone involved: Sakshi after Centre’s talks call

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The central government has invited the wrestlers protesting against Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for talks on their issues, days after they met Home Minister Amit Shah.

Union Sports minister Anurag Thakur made the announcement in a tweet post-midnight on Tuesday (June 6) while stating that the government was “willing to have a discussion with the wrestlers on their issues”.

“I have once again invited the wrestlers for the same,” he said.

Also read: Wrestlers’ protest: Delhi Police at WFI chief’s home at Gonda, questions 12 people

The invitation came days after Shah reportedly held a late-night meeting with prominent wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, and Vinesh Phogat, among others, at his residence in New Delhi. Reports said he assured the wrestlers that the law was the same for everyone while urging them to allow it to take its course.

“Everyone will be consulted”

Malik, who is at the forefront of the protest, told news agency ANI in a telephonic interview that they would take the consent of everyone involved in the protest before agreeing to any proposal by the government. She added that no time has been fixed for the meeting with Thakur yet.

“We will discuss the government’s proposal with our seniors and supporters. Only when everyone gives their consent that the proposal is fine will we agree to it. We will not agree to anything the government says and end our protest,” she asserted on Wednesday (June 7).

Punia on Tuesday told a prominent news channel that the delegation was asked not to divulge details of the meeting with Shah while denying of “striking any deal” with the government.

Wrestlers unhappy with govt steps

He said the wrestlers were not satisfied with the government’s initiatives on the issue and were strategizing on how to take their protest forward.

“He (Shah) assured us that they were discussing it and will definitely take action,” Punia told NDTV while adding, “We had gone back in January based on the government’s assurances, but were later declared liars.”

Punia made the clarification after some of the wrestlers, including Malik, re-joined their jobs at the Railways following the meeting with Shah.

Also read: Wrestlers protest: Just rejoined work, not ended protest, say Sakshi and Punia

Clarifying about the same, Punia said they had taken leave from jobs and reported to work for a day to sign in following their eviction from Jantar Mantar. He said the wrestlers are ready to quit their jobs for the movement.

“Will quit job if necessary”

“This is a fight for respect and dignity. We don’t fear rumours, or losing the railways job. We’ll quit the job if anyone pressures us,” he said.

The wrestlers have been agitating against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, a BJP MP, and demanded his arrest. Some women wrestlers have accused him of sexually harassing them, charges he has denied.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Delhi Police recorded the statements of Singh’s associates and those working at his residence in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda as part of the investigation, officials said.

Also read: Amit Shah meets protesting wrestlers, urges them to ‘let law take its course’

They also said a minor complainant whose statement was the basis of a case registered against Singh under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act has recorded a fresh statement under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) section 164.

(With inputs from agencies)

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