With Five-Day Ultimatum, Wrestlers Hold On Plan To Immerse Medals In Ganga


New Delhi: Protesting ace wrestlers of the country have shelved their plans to consign their medals in Ganga at Haridwar after intervention from farmer leader Naresh Tikait. They have given a five-day deadline for action against the wrestling federation chief.

The UP police have said they will not deter the wrestlers from their plan to consign the medals to the Ganga. Visuals from the spot show locals consoling the tearful athletes, asking them to hold on to the medals that came to India through years of hard work and dedication.

If the athletes stick to their resolve, India may lose two Olympic medals, and a handful of Commonwealth Games and World Championship medals.

Sakshi Malik has won one Olympic bronze and three medals at the Commonwealth Games. Vinesh Phogat has won two World Championship medals, two medals at Asiad and three Commonwealth Games medals. Bajrang Punia has won an Olympic bronze, four World Championships medals, two Asian Games and three Commonwealth Games medals.

The wrestlers, who allege that their protest against wrestling federation chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has been largely ignored, announced their decision to consign the medals to Ganga in an emotive message today.

“It seems that these medals decorated around our necks have no meaning any more,” read a statement in Hindi, tweeted out by top athletes including Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat.

“The police and the system are treating us as criminals while the harasser openly attacks us in public meetings,” the wrestlers added, refering to Sunday’s crackdown that took place as Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new parliament.

“These medals are our lives, our souls. There would be no reason to live after immersing them in the Ganga today. So, we will start a hunger strike until death at India Gate after that,” added the statement.

The Delhi Police, who shut the Jantar Mantar protest site to the wrestlers after Sunday’s crackdown, said they will not be allowed to hold a protest at India Gate. The Delhi Police had accused the protesting wrestlers of rioting on Sunday, saying they broke the law in a frenzy despite repeated requests.

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