• Wednesday, October 04, 2023


India’s protesting wrestlers join back work after meeting home minister Amit Shah; vow to continue ‘fight for justice’

While there were also reports that Malik and Punia, who have won medals at the Olympic Games, withdrew from the protest, they denied them.

(File Pic) Wrestlers Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia rejoin their work in the Indian Railways, on Monday, June 5, 2023, but vowed that their ‘fight for justice’ will continue. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

Days after they threatened to throw their hard-earned international medals into the Ganges river and farmers’ outfits intervening to support them and their meeting with home minister Amit Shah, some of India’s top wrestlers, who have been protesting demanding action against the chief of the country’s wrestling federation on charges of sexually harassing women athletes, have rejoined their government jobs.

Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia resumed their work on Thursday (31), a few days after they were evicted from a protest site in Jantar Mantar in Delhi, where they had been protesting against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the president of Wrestling Federation of India and a parliamentarian from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since April.

While there were also reports that Malik and Punia, who have won medals at the Olympic Games, withdrew from the protest, they denied them.

Responding to one such report, Malik said in a tweet in Hindi, “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.”

On Saturday evening, the protesting wrestlers met Shah and requested him for an impartial investigation against Singh, who has also been accused of sexually harassing a minor.

Shah, who is the second most powerful leader in the BJP after prime minister Narendra Modi, assured the wrestlers that law remains same for everybody and reportedly told them, “Let the law take its own course.”

Malik, who won a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016, said they had a normal conversation with Shah and had put in front of him only one demand — arrest of Singh. She said they would continue to protest till they received justice.

NDTV cited sources saying that the wrestlers sought a meeting with Shah after their five-day deadline for action against Singh concluded on Saturday.

The famers’ bodies, which came out in support of the wrestlers and held two ‘khap mahapanchayats’ (mega village meetings) last week in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana and also staged protests, have given the Modi government a deadline till June 9 to take action against Singh.

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