Last Updated: May 31, 2023, 15:07 IST
A last-minute call from a senior Union minister from Western Uttar Pradesh to grappler Bajrang Punia helped in calming the tempers of wrestlers after which they temporarily shelved their plans to immerse their medals in Ganga at ‘Har Ki Pauri’ in Haridwar.
Sources close to the minister said he called Punia when he was at ‘Har Ki Pauri’ along with other wrestlers and spoke to Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat as well on the same call. Sangeeta Phogat was also present at the spot.
“He has been in touch with wrestlers for a long time. Yesterday, when the wrestlers were in Haridwar to immerse their medals in Ganga, the minister called them and told them that this action would bring disrepute for them. He also asked them to be patient and wait for the legal process to take its course, ensuring that justice would be delivered,” a source close to the minister said.
“These wrestlers are the country’s pride… This is not good, these medals have feelings and emotions of crores of Indians attached with them. People of this country had utmost respect for the wrestlers, for their blood and sweat which they have given for the game and for winning medals. They must also trust our judicial system,” the minister reportedly said.
Meanwhile, protesting wrestlers have given five days to the Centre to arrest Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Singh who is accused of sexual harassment. They have threatened to return to immerse their medals if action is not taken against Singh.
Amid the protest, United World Wrestling (UWW) has also issued a statement condemning the detention of the grapplers during a protest march to the new Parliament building on Sunday.
“UWW firmly condemns the treatment and detention of the wrestlers. It expresses its disappointment over the lack of results of the investigations so far. UWW urges the relevant authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the allegations,” the world wrestling body said in a statement.
The Bhartiya Kisan Union has also announced a ‘maha panchayat’ in Muzaffarnagar on June 1 to discuss the protest against Singh.