Protesting wrestlers return home to Haryana

Wrestlers Protest: Grapplers return home to Haryana, did not speak in Haridwar due to 'silence vow'

The police claim that the wrestlers were detained for breaching the security cordon by trying to push through the barricades at the protest site. PTI

The protesting wrestlers, barring Sakshi Malik, on Wednesday returned to their homes in Haryana, and the “shell-shocked” grapplers avoided speaking to the media in Haridwar due to their ‘silence vow’, one of the protest group members said.

On 23 April, India’s top wrestlers including Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia had resumed their protest at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, demanding the arrest of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over sexual harassment allegations.

However, on 28 May, the wrestlers, during a planned march from Jantar Mantar to the new Parliament building, were detained by Delhi Police.

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Immediately after their detention, the police cleared the protest site and made it clear that wrestlers will not be allowed back to the Jantar Mantar.

The police action against the wrestlers drew criticism from different quarters.

On Tuesday, they threatened to immerse their medals into the holy river Ganga but the farmer leaders stopped them from taking the extreme step.

“They were crying since morning. It is not easy to throw away even a medal won at district level and they were ready to throw away those big international medals. They were shell-shocked, not a word was coming out of their mouths,” said a member of the protesting group.

“They had taken a silence vow for Tuesday and that’s why they did not speak with anyone in Haridwar. All have returned to their respective homes but Sakshi is still in Delhi,” he added.

While the wrestlers did not address the media, they were seen having discussions among themselves, whispering in each other’s ears.

The mood was sombre when the wrestlers arrived at the famous Har ki Pauri with their medals as they wept and were being consoled by their family members.

They did not carry out their threat and returned with their medals after farmer leaders sought five days to sort out their issues.

The wrestlers have been demanding the arrest of Brij Bhushan, who they have accused of sexual exploitation.

Two FIRs were filed against him, including one in POCSO act, but it is now being claimed that the ‘minor’ who has filed a complaint against the WFI chief is actually not a minor.

The oversight panel, which was formed by the government to probe the allegations, did not make its findings public but sources had claimed that the six-member committee did not find any incriminating evidence against Brij Bhushan.

The WFI chief has denied all the charges and said that even if one allegation is proved, he will “hang himself”.

Brij Bhushan has alleged political conspiracy behind the protest.

With inputs from PTI

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