Published On : Mon, Jun 5th, 2023

Wrestlers resume duties in Railways, but say protest will continue

New Delhi: India’s ace wrestlers — Sakshee Malikkh, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia , who have been at the forefront of the protest against the country’s wrestling federation chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, have resumed their duties in the Railways.

Sakshee Malikkh, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia resumed their work on May 31, days after the protesting wrestlers were evicted from Jantar Mantar in Delhi – where they had been protesting since April.


Both Malikkh and Punia have, however, denied the reports of withdrawing from the protest. “This is our fight for justice. We will not step back. We are working on our future strategy,” Malikkh said.

The wrestlers met Home Minister Amit Shah on late Saturday evening and requested for an impartial probe against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh — who has been accused of sexual harassment by seven female wrestlers, including a minor.

Amit Shah assured the wrestlers that the law remains same for everyone, it’s learnt. “Let the law take its own course,” he reportedly told the wrestlers.

Malikkh said they had a “normal” conversation with Shah. “We have only one demand — to arrest Brij Bhushan Singh. We will continue our protest until we get justice,” she said.

Reports say the protesting wrestlers had sought a meeting with Shah after their five-day deadline for action against the wrestling federation chief ended on Saturday. The wrestlers, who allege that their protest against the wrestling federation chief has been largely ignored, had last month announced their decision to immerse their medals into the river Ganga in Haridwar.

They, however, temporarily shelved their plan after intervention from farmer leader Naresh Tikait.

Earlier, the Delhi Police had accused the protesting wrestlers of rioting on during their protest march to new parliament, saying they broke the law in a frenzy despite repeated requests.

Several protesters were detained during the march on May 28. Visuals of champions Vinesh Phogat and her cousin Sangeeta Phogat being pinned onto the ground by the police had evoked shock and outrage across the country.

The Delhi Police, who shut the Jantar Mantar protest site to the wrestlers after the crackdown, said they will also not be allowed to hold a protest at India Gate.

Cops have filed two First Information Reports or FIRs against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Of the two FIRs, one is based on combined complaints of six adult wrestlers, and a separate one is based on the complaint of the father of an underage wrestler.

The wrestlers’ protest has grown in volume, with veterans from the sports fraternity and Haryana farmers joining in to show support.