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Wrestlers threaten to return Medals, Govt Honours after Police manhandling

The protesters alleged that a policeman was in a drunken state and misbehaved with women wrestlers. Read More

Thursday May 4, 2023 5:27 PM, IANS

Wrestlers threaten to return Medals, Govt Honours after Police manhandling

New Delhi: Top Indian wrestlers on Thursday threatened to return the medals they won at various levels and honours received from various organisations as part of their protest against being manhandled by the Delhi Police to disrupt their sit-in protest at the Jantar Mantar here.

The wrestlers informed this on Thursday to the media at the Jantar Mantar here that they will return their medals and honours following misbehaviour by Delhi Police on Wednesday night to disrupt their protest against the alleged sexual harassment of female wrestlers by the deposed president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Drunk Policeman misbehaved

The protesters alleged that a policeman was in a drunken state and misbehaved with women wrestlers.

Offering to return the honours, Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia said:

"When they (policemen) were manhandling and abusing us, were they not able to see that the wrestlers are also Padma Shri (awardees)."

"If this is how the wrestlers will be treated, what will we do with the medals? It was not just me. Sakshi (Malik) was also sitting there. Rather we will live a normal life and return all the medals and awards to the Indian Government," he added.

"Saare le jao"

Asked whether their offer related to the medals that they won in the international arena, Asian and Commonwealth Games medallist Vinesh Phogat butted in to say:

"Saare le jao. Itni beizzati toh kar di hamari. Kuch bhi chhoda nahi (Take away all. They have already insulted us so much. There's nothing left)."

Asked about the assertion by BJP supporters that the protest has allegedly been hijacked by politicians, after seeing several opposition parties extending their support to the wrestlers' protest, Vinesh Phogat asserted that it is political.

"Listen, this is political. Please get the Prime Minister to talk to us. Ask the Home Minister to call us. Get us justice. We are putting our careers and our lives at stake," she told the media.

'Did we win Medals to see this day'

Wrestler Vinesh Phogat broke down in tears and expressed disappointment after some grapplers were allegedly roughed up at the Jantar Mantar protest site by a Delhi Police personnel on late Wednesday night.

Phogat, who has won multiple medals for India in wrestling, expressed her frustration over the situation, saying:

"Did we win medals to see this day?"

Phogat, visibly upset by the incident, accused the personnel of pushing and shoving everyone.

She expressed her outrage at the way the protesters were being treated, stating:

"We are not criminals to be treated in this manner."

Phogat further raised concerns about the lack of female police officers presence at the scene and questioned their absence.

She also recounted her own experience of being "mistreated" by male police officers, claiming that she was subjected to abuse and physical aggression, and asked, "Why weren't there any women police personnel?"

The alleged brawl between protesting wrestlers and police personnel here at Jantar Mantar is said to have taken place after the police did not allow the grapplers to bring folding beds to the site of protest.


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