Protesting Wrestlers to 'Throw' Medals in Ganga Today, Announce Fast Unto Death at India Gate

Wrestlers including Sakshee Malikkh, Bajrang Punia and Sangeeta Phogat, put out a statement on their respective Twitter handles, saying the grapplers would go to Haridwar and immerse their medals in river Ganga at 6 pm.
Protesting Wrestlers to 'Throw' Medals in Ganga Today, Announce Fast Unto Death at India Gate

India's top wrestlers, who were recently detained and removed from their protest site at Delhi's Jantar Mantar, have said they will immerse their medals in river Ganga in Haridwar on Tuesday and then sit on an indefinite hunger strike at India Gate.

Wrestlers including Sakshee Malikkh, Bajrang Punia and Sangeeta Phogat, put out a statement on their respective Twitter handles, saying the grapplers would go to Haridwar and immerse their medals in river Ganga at 6 pm.

'These medals are our lives, our souls. There would be no reason to live after immersing them in the Ganga today. We will stage a hunger strike until death at India Gate after that', read the statement in Hindi.

Since April 23, the grapplers have been protesting against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over sexual harassment allegations levelled against him by female athletes, including a minor.

Dramatic visuals emerged from the wrestlers’ protest march as hundreds of cops and paramilitary personnel blocked their advance towards Parliament House on May 28. As the protesters tried to breach the security cordon, a fierce tussle broke out -- the wrestlers and cops pushed, shoved and grappled with one another.

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Protesting Wrestlers to 'Throw' Medals in Ganga Today, Announce Fast Unto Death at India Gate

In the joint statement, the wrestlers said the Prime Minister "who calls us our daughters", did not even once show his concern for the grapplers. "Rather, he invited the 'oppressor' (Brij Bhushan Singh) to the inauguration of the new Parliament building. He even posed for photographs in bright white clothes. We have been stained by this brightness," it said.

The statement said, "Where is the place for the daughters of India? Have we been reduced to people indulging in mere sloganeering or do we have an agenda to come to power?"

"We are going to immerse these medals in river Ganga... The more sacred we consider the Ganga, the more sacredly we had achieved these medals by toiling hard. These medals are sacred for the whole country and the right place should be in the Ganga itself," it said.

The protest, which started on April 23, at Jantar Mantar saw heartbreaking visuals on the day of the new Parliament building's inauguration when Delhi Police cracked down on them in the midst of their march. An FIR was lodged against the wrestlers for taking out the march to the new Parliament building, mentioning that their protest would hamper "national prestige".

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Protesting Wrestlers to 'Throw' Medals in Ganga Today, Announce Fast Unto Death at India Gate

The wrestlers, who resumed their sit-in last month after the first round of protests in January, have been demanding the arrest of Brij Bhushan Singh, also a BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh’s Kaisarganj.

Opposition leaders, including Congress’s Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have condemned the Centre over their inaction against Brij Bhushan Singh.

Earlier, grappler Sakshi Malik had posted a video saying the next plan of action of the protest will be announced soon.

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