NEW DELHI: Protesting wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia said Thursday they were ready to return their medals and awards to the government. Vinesh and Bajrang, who won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, say those honors mean nothing when they face such humiliation.
The wrestlers have been sitting at a protest in the state capital since April 23, demanding the arrest of WFI boss and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for allegedly sexually molesting seven wrestlers, including a minor.
At around 11pm on Wednesday in Jantar Mantar, a scuffle broke out between the protesting wrestlers as they brought in fold-up beds for their overnight stay and the police on duty who reportedly began inquiring about it.
“If wrestlers are treated like that, what do we do with the medals? Instead, we will live normal lives and return all medals and awards to the Indian government,” Bajrang, an Olympic bronze medalist, told reporters on Thursday morning.
Scuffle Between Protesting Wrestlers And Delhi Police Personnel At Jantar Mantar: What We Know So Far
“When the police are pushing us, mistreating us, misbehaving, then they don’t see that we are Padma Shri laureates, and not only me, there is also Sakshi (Malik),” he said, referring to the bronze medalist of the Olympic Games in Rio.
“They are misbehaving towards us. Wives and daughters sit on the street begging for kindness, but no one cares about justice.”
Scuffle between wrestlers and police at night in Delhi during wrestlers protest in Jantar Mantar
Heavy security was in place at the Jantar Mantar site following last night’s riot between the wrestlers and some Delhi police officers which resulted in injuries to two protesters.
“Takes away everything (medals). We were so humiliated. We fight for our respect, but we crush under their feet. Do all men have the right to abuse women?” said Vinesh, the Khel Ratna is an awardee.
“We will return all our medals, even give our lives, but at least get justice.”
(With inputs from PTI)