This article provides information about the recent wrestlers’ protest and the rise of rumours about their return to government jobs and their conversations with Home Minister Amit Shah.
Wrestlers’ Protests Against Sexual Assault Accusations
In professional wrestling, there have been occasions where wrestlers have utilized their platforms to voice their discontent or champion causes for change. A notable example is the series of protests initiated by Indian wrestlers in January 2023, seeking an inquiry into the sexual assault accusations against BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The incidents range from years 2012 to 2022 at different places, and there are seven complaints in the case, including a minor.
On May 28, 2023, Delhi and Haryana police implemented heavy barricading and arrests to prevent supporters from joining a planned march towards New Parliament House. Police were present in Haryana villages to stop residents from traveling to Delhi. To stop farmers and Khap leaders from joining the march, the borders of Delhi were barricaded. The Delhi Police and security personnel used force to drag, detain, and push back the peaceful demonstrators as they marched. The wrestlers attempted to march toward the New Parliament House, but the police violently stopped them and detained them. Many people criticized the arrests and the police’s actions.
Recently, however, the wrestlers had been spotted at their railway jobs raising questions in the minds of people about whether they had given up their goals and returned to serve the government as it requires them to.
Wrestlers’ Clarification and Commitment to Protest
Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik on Monday stated that on Saturday night, the wrestlers had a “normal conversation” with the Union home minister Amit Shah, about the ongoing protests against Wrestling Federation of India chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The MP is currently facing sexual harassment charges and no final solution has been achieved despite all the attempts being made.
Malik and Bajrang Punia, along with fellow Olympian and World Championship medallist Vinesh Phogat have protesting against Brij Bhushan, relentlessly, demanding his arrest on account of his wrongdoings and harassment against seven wrestlers, including one minor. Singh has however denied all the charges.
Sakshi Malik has reportedly resumed her work in Railways as OSD. She has clarified in a conversation with ANI that she has not stepped back from the protest and that she, along with the other wrestlers, will keep protesting until they get justice. She said, “Vinesh, I, and Bajrang are all together in this protest and we haven’t withdrawn our names.”
Malik was seen at the office of the Northern Railways which triggered a conversation about whether or not she has backed off from the protests and re-joined her office. She continued telling ANI that this is all just rumors and that none of them have pulled out of the protests. She stated that they are currently just making their strategy of what their next steps should be and how to proceed in a non-violent way. She detailed that working at the railway was just for her to finish pending duties till they were on another protest, as she has a lot of responsibilities.
Meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah
Wrestler Bajrang Punia, in an interview with NDTV, denied any sort of adjustments with the Home Minister and stated that they were told by Amit Shah that an investigation was underway. He revealed that the government asked them to make no comments on their meeting with Amit Shah, but the information had been leaked from there. He spoke about how the government and wrestlers aren’t able to reach a compromise and neither party is satisfied with the other’s responses.
Amit Shah reportedly assured the wrestlers that the law will remain the same for everyone and that the government, though still discussing, will take definite action against Brij Bhushan.
Bajrang Punia stated loud and clear that the wrestlers would quit their government jobs to win this battle and that this to them is a fight for respect and dignity.
There have been rumours stating the minor’s father withdrawing her case, however, the wrestlers have commented and called any of these rumours false.