Indian Wrestlers Postpone Medal Protest, Give Government Five Days to Respond


India’s top wrestlers have decided to postpone their plan to throw their medals into the Ganges, the country’s holiest river, as part of their ongoing protest. The wrestlers, including Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, and two-time world champion medallist Vinesh Phogat, have been demanding the resignation and arrest of their federation chief, who they accuse of sexually harassing female wrestlers. The federation chief has denied the allegations. The wrestlers had originally scheduled to throw their medals into the Ganges on Tuesday afternoon but have now given the government five days to respond to their demands. They have also announced plans to go on an indefinite hunger strike at India Gate, a war memorial in the capital city of Delhi.

In a statement, the wrestlers expressed their disappointment that the president and the prime minister had not spoken about the protests or inquired about them. They considered returning their medals to the country’s leaders but decided that throwing them into the Ganges would hold more significance for them. The tearful wrestlers gathered near the river in Haridwar on Tuesday, but their protest was postponed after a meeting with the leader of the influential BKU farming union, Naresh Tikait. Tikait stated that the government had five days to take action and assured the wrestlers that they would not have to hang their heads in shame.

The athletes have faced police action, including detention and charges of rioting, during their protests. They criticized the police’s treatment, asking if female athletes have committed a crime by seeking justice for sexual harassment. The wrestling federation chief, Brij Bhushan Singh, who is also an influential politician, has denied all allegations and called the protests politically motivated. The wrestlers’ protest has gained attention and sparked criticism from top athletes and opposition politicians. The government and Delhi Police are now under pressure to respond to the wrestlers’ demands.


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