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Business News/ News / India/  ‘Don't indulge in politics, this is players movement…’ Wrestlers warn against using their platform for politics

The protesting wrestlers on Saturday warned against using their platform for political gains and claimed that few people are trying to take their fight justice to a different direction.

At Jantar Mantar, Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia said they won't let anyone use their platform for political gains. 

Without mentioning their names, he said, “A few people are trying to take our movement to a different direction and we strongly refute it. This is a fight for justice for India's daughters."

At the protest site, a group of people were heard raising slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. To which Bajrang said, “A lot of people have entered the protest site and trying to project it as a 'bhadkau andolan' but this is fight to save Indian wrestling. People who are here (assembled) are in our support but not for any political gains."

Also Read: Where are 'saases and bahus'? Mahua Moitra slams ‘BJP nari brigade’ over wrestlers' protest

"Politics and other things are secondary, the dignity and honour of women is first, so please don't indulge in politics. This is players' movement, so do not link to any political party," he added.

Vinesh Phogat also sought to placate the people in position of power. She said, “All those, who hold constitutional posts (I want to say), that the common man also deserves respect. We respect all, we will not say anything that goes against their honour, but we should also be respected."

The wrestlers' statement come at the time when many politicians including Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal visited the protest site at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. Apart from them, in the past couple of days Congress party's Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayant Chaudhary, former Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik, Delhi government ministers Atishi Singh and Suarbah Bhardwaj among others also visited the protest site to extend their support to the athletes.

Extending support, Kejriwal said that those who commit wrongs against women "should be hanged", while the Congress demanded Singh's arrest and his ouster as president of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

On Friday, Delhi Police registered two FIRs against Singh on allegations of sexual harassment levelled by seven women wrestlers. While the first FIR pertained to allegations of a minor wrestler and was registered under the POCSO Act, the second was related to outraging modesty.

Addressing reporters at his residence in Bishnoharpur, about 40 km from Gonda city in Uttar Pradesh, WFI chief said Brij Bhushan Singh said, "I am completely innocent and have full faith in the Supreme Court and Delhi Police. I am ready to face any kind of investigation."

He also said "resigning as president of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is not a big deal for me, but I will not resign as a criminal."

At Gonda, Singh took a strong exception to Vadra's meeting with the wrestlers saying, "Today it has been seen who is behind this controversy. I have been saying from the beginning that an industrialist and the Congress have a hand in this. They are upset with me." He, however, did not elaborate.

"I'm not a criminal. Resigning means I have accepted their allegations," Singh said.

Punia also claimed they were being harassed by Delhi Police. “Last night, they cut our power supply, did not let us bring food and water and even mattresses and takhtas (wooden cots). Even one of the workers, who brought these things to the protest site, has not reached home. The police is not treating the athletes well."

"Is this the honour of the country's athletes? What's the point of winning those medals if we had to face all these?" he asked.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated: 30 Apr 2023, 06:01 AM IST
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