Wrestlers to take their protest to global forum, approach Olympians in other nations for support

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Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sakshee Malikkh, Bajrang Punia, and others address a press conference on Thursday | Photo: ANI

New Delhi: The protesting wrestlers on Monday decided to make their "agitation global" by approaching Olympic medallists and athletes from other countries and warned that if their demand for the arrest of former national federation (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh is not heeded to, a "big call" will be taken after May 21.

India's top wrestlers Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat among others are protesting at Jantar Mantar here for the last 23 days, demanding the arrest of Brij Bhushan for allegedly sexually harassing women grapplers, including a minor.

"We will make this protest global. We will approach Olympians and Olympic medallists in other countries. We will write to them asking them for their support," said 2018 Jakarta Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh.

She alleged that some elements tried to tarnish their protest on Sunday night and also said that the wrestlers were being stalked at the protest site.

"Some people tried to disrupt our protest. The last time it happened was when we were bringing our bedding at the protest site (at the start of the agitation).

"We are being stalked. People make recording and click photos... and when we tell them (to stop), they do not listen. Some unknown people (women) also tried to sleep here (inside the tent put up by wrestlers)," Vinesh said.

"Women, whom we don't know are being sent inside at night... things are being done, which we do not want should happen at the protest site... which bring a bad name and tarnish our fight for truth and justice."

She also said the wrestlers will not just confine themselves to the protest site but also try to make every citizen in the country aware of their plight.

"We are getting a feeling at Jantar Mantar that we are being restricted and pushed into a corner. So the more we agitate at other places and let the people elsewhere also know, the better.

"Today we have decided to go to Connaught Place and speak to the people there and seek their support in our fight for justice. We have set May 21 as the deadline (for action against Brij Bhushan). If no decision is taken, then we will take a big call on our agitation after that date," Vinesh said.

But Vinesh did not shed light on the legal processes the wrestlers have initiated against Brij Bhushan.

"They (legal processes) are ongoing. I will not shed light on them now. Once something concrete happens, we will let you know," she said.


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