New Delhi: Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia returned to their posts as officers on special duty (Sports) in the Railways on Monday but denied news reports claiming that they had withdrawn from the protest against Wrestling Federation of India head Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
They are among the wrestlers who have been protesting for more than a month demanding Singh’s arrest. He is accused of sexually harassing seven women players, including a minor.
Singh, who is also a Bharatiya Janata Party MP, has denied any wrongdoing. But the wrestlers have intensified their protest against him.
Malik, who won the women’s 58 kg freestyle bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, on Monday said in a tweet, “Neither have any of us have stepped back from the fight for justice, nor will we ever do so in future. Along with the satyagraha [peaceful protest], I am fulfilling my responsibility in the Railways. Our fight will go on till we get justice. Please don’t spread any wrong news.”
Punia also said that the claim about them withdrawing from the protest was a baseless rumour. “These claims are being spread in order to harm us,” he said on Twitter. “We have not stepped back of withdrawn the agitation.”
Punia denied claims that some of the women wrestlers had withdrawn their complaints against Singh.
Malik also told ANI that the minor girl who had accused Singh of sexually harassing her had not withdrawn her statement.
The 30-year-old and other protesting wrestlers had met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on June 3 at his official residence. Speaking about the meeting, she said: “It was a normal conversation, we have only one demand and that is to arrest him [Singh].”
On May 30, Malik, Punia and two-time World Championship medallist Vinesh Phogat had threatened to throw their medals into the Ganga river two days after they were manhandled by the Delhi Police as they tried to march to the new Parliament building.
Pictures of the wrestlers being dragged and carried off in buses were widely shared on social media, sparking criticism from top athletes and Opposition leaders.
The Delhi Police booked Punia, Malik, Vinesh Phogat and wrestler Sangeeta Phogat for rioting and obstructing public servants from discharging their duty, hours after they were detained on May 28.