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Business News/ News / India/  ‘5 lakhs in 5 days’: This is how much wrestlers are paying to seek justice

‘5 lakhs in 5 days’: This is how much wrestlers are paying to seek justice

Wrestler Bajrang Punia on Saturday stated that the Delhi Police had cut off electricity at the wrestlers’ protest site

Wrestler Sakshi Malik exercises at Jan 28, 2023. (PTI)Premium
Wrestler Sakshi Malik exercises at Jan 28, 2023. (PTI)

A protest, a fight for justice does not come for free. It takes your determination, willingness to sacrifice and a lot of money. That is right! The ongoing wrestler's protest in national capital Delhi's Jantar Mantar has cost the protesters a whopping 5 lakhs in just 5 days, according to a report by news agency PTI. 

Amid the developments, wrestler Bajrang Punia on Saturday stated that the Delhi Police had cut off electricity at the wrestlers’ protest site. In a late night Instagram video the Olympian medalist stated that Delhi Police had suspended food and water supply at Jantar Mantar. 

He added that barricades have also been put up. Wrestlers were also asked to end their agitation minutes after the registration of FIRs. he said. 

Report of expenses wrestlers had to incur

-In five days, the wrestlers have spent more than five lakh for arranging mattresses, bed sheets, fans, speakers and microphones, a mini power gen-set, apart from water and food.

-Initially, they took mattresses, bed sheets and the sound system on rent, shelling out 27000 for a single day.

-Realising that the protest was a long haul struggle, the wrestlers resorted to buying mattresses. 

"We decided to buy mattresses. I bought 80 mattresses from my village Kharkhoda by paying 50,000. We were being charged 12000 a day for all the mattresses. That's a huge sum," Somvir Rathi, husband of Vinesh Phogat, told PTI.

"Initially, we had taken speakers and microphones on rent, but the one-day cost was 12,000. It was too much. Now we have bought our own sound system from Chandni Chowk market for 60,000.

-A few items like fans and generators are still on rent -- both at a combined amount of about 10,000 a day.

-"We will buy coolers if the need arises. It's very hot out there. We had brought rupees two lakh cash with us but have already spent about 5-6 lakh rupees so far."

Financial Help?

The protesters informed PTI that they have not received any financial help from the politicians or anybody who believes in their cause.  "If that was the case, we would have a waterproof shed over our head and some decent facilities, but we are managing with bare minimum."

The families of Vinesh, Sakshi and Bajrang are managing the cost.

"We are not accepting help from any one as of today. We are managing by ourselves and spending money very carefully. All the people are coming are arranging for their food on their own."

The situation at ground, as reported by PTI

While Vinesh, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia are the face of the protest, people like the unassuming Somvir, his friend Yogesh (Bharat Kesri) and several others are working day and night to keep the protest going.

"We have divided the work among ourselves. A few coaches are ensuring that quality food is being prepared by the cooks while young wrestlers deliver food to the protest site. Another guy makes sure that water supply is uninterrupted and another takes care of cleanliness and one runs errands.

"Even the security personnel help us sometimes."

The wrestlers said that they would distribute everything as soon as the protest is over. 

"We will distribute everything to either Gurudwara or a temple. They can make good use of mattresses, speakers and other stuff."

Somvir quietly passed on a big packet of water bottles over the police barricading to one of the wrestlers, who took the package and placed it in one corner of the protest area.

At times Somvir was seen trying to convince the leaders of the 'akhaaras' in Haryana to not send wrestlers to the protest site since handling a big crowd would pose a challenge.

"I have told them not to come here as yet. Handling a big crowd could become a big issue. A few wrestlers' parents came with 50kg milk, and unfortunately, about 20kg went waste because it turned sour due to the summer heat. There is no place to keep such things, so we are asking people for just support."

“There was a meeting in Rohtak on Thursday. From among 100 'akhadaas' in Haryana, about 80 are willing to come here to support us."


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Sayantani Biswas
Sayantani is an editor with Livemint. She covers Indian and International political news
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Updated: 29 Apr 2023, 11:07 PM IST
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