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Business News/ News / India/  Wrestlers' protest: After Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat leaves Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award at Kartavya Path
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Wrestlers' protest: After Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat leaves Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award at Kartavya Path

Vinesh Phogat returns Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award in protest against election of Sanjay Singh, accused of sexual harassment by wrestlers.

New Delhi: Wrestler Vinesh Phogat walks with her Arjuna and Khel Ratna Awards, India's highest national sports awards, before leaving them on a pavement near the prime minister's office as a mark of protest, in New Delh (PTI)Premium
New Delhi: Wrestler Vinesh Phogat walks with her Arjuna and Khel Ratna Awards, India's highest national sports awards, before leaving them on a pavement near the prime minister's office as a mark of protest, in New Delh (PTI)

India's ace wrestler, and World Championship medallist Vinesh Phogat has returned her Khel Ratna award and Arjuna Award in protest against the election of Sanjay Singh, a close aide of former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who had been accused of sexual harassment by the three well-known grapplers.

Earlier, Sakshi Malik also informed that she would quit wrestling for India, following Sanjay Singh's election.

On Saturday, Vinesh Phogat kept the Khel Ratna and Arjuna awards lying on a red cloth on the Kartavya Path in national capital Delhi, as Delhi Police stopped her from reaching the prime minister's office.

New Delhi: Arjuna and Khel Ratna Awards of wrestler Vinesh Phogat, left by her on a pavement near the prime minister's office as a mark of protest, in New Delhi, Saturday
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New Delhi: Arjuna and Khel Ratna Awards of wrestler Vinesh Phogat, left by her on a pavement near the prime minister's office as a mark of protest, in New Delhi, Saturday (PTI)

Earlier this week, Vinesh Phogat had expressed her desire to return her Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award to the government, saying such honours have become meaningless at a time when wrestlers are struggling to get justice. Phogat had also written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing the same.

On Saturday, she attempted to reach the prime minister's office to return her awards but the police prevented her from reaching the PMO. As a mark of protest, Vinesh Phogat left the awards at the Kartavya Path and they were later picked up by Delhi Police.

Vinesh Phogat, along with Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, had protested against the election of Sanjay Singh, a close aide of former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who had been accused of sexual harassment by the three well-known grapplers.

Sakshi had also announced her retirement from wrestling soon after Sanjay Singh's appointment as WFI Chief.

However, the Sports Ministry had later suspended the newly-elected panel for not following the provisions of its own constitution while taking decisions while asking the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to constitute an ad-hoc panel to manage the affairs of the sports body.

In her letter posted on X (formerly Twitter), Vinesh Phogat had said that their lives are not like those "fancy government advertisements" that talk about women's empowerment and upliftment.

(With agency inputs)

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Published: 30 Dec 2023, 08:27 PM IST
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