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"Not just Bajrang or Vinesh's fight anymore" — Wrestlers' form committees to decide further action

Bajrang Punia reveals that they have set up two different committees to decide the protest's further course of action.

Not just Bajrang or Vineshs fight anymore — Wrestlers form committees to decide further action

Indian wrestlers at Jantar Mantar during their sit-in protest (Pritish Raj/The Bridge)


Pritish Raj

Updated: 6 May 2023 7:38 AM GMT

Jantar Mantar, New Delhi: 13 days into the wrestlers' protest led by the likes of Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, and Vinesh Phogat, the protest site here is shielded like an army cantonment with barricades and a large group of policemen marshaling all the entry points.

The shed area where the protesting wrestlers spend their night these days is secured too, with supporters and media alike forced to cross a barrage of ropes to reach the protestors.

The scuffle which broke out late on Wednesday night seems to have played a part in this extra security cover, but Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia has no intention of backing down. He is surrounded by supporters throughout the day but soon turns up to talk to the media.

Punia, in an interaction, reveals that they will set up two different committees to decide the further course of the ongoing protest.

"We have made two committees that will decide the upcoming course of this protest. There is a committee of 31 people, which comprises of the organizations supporting us and they will decide the course of the protest. The other committee is of nine people, who will decide our wrestling future," Punia said on Friday.

He further stated that they will reveal the name of the members of both committees on Saturday.

Bajrang also reiterated that the upcoming 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games is an afterthought for them at the moment. Having spent close to two weeks on the pavements of Jantar Mantar with negligible training, all of the protesting wrestlers look out of shape.

"I have mentioned before that justice is important to us more than Asian Games at this moment. How will we fight in these conditions? Our mental and physical state would not allow this," he said.

There have been strong allegations of the protest being politically motivated, but Bajrang continues to refute those claims.

"Our demand is the same from day 1 and that is justice. It is neither political nor is it related to caste. We welcome everyone who wants to support us. We are against the WFI chief and no one else," he said.

"It is like wrestling. I am sure that we will get the results. The hard work never goes to waste and we will fight till justice is delivered," Bajrang further added.

When they first came out demanding justice in January, the wrestlers had strictly restricted politicians from interfering in their fight. But, things have changed since they once again thronged to Jantar Mantar last month.

"Our people and society are important to us. This community is what has supported us and if they say that it is the right time to end it, we will end the protest. But I know they will not ask us to move without getting justice," Bajrang stated.

The Khel Ratna awardee maintained that they will not back down just on assurances like last time.

"Earlier, we were thinking from the heart and we were fooled. A lot of people advised us in January that we do not compromise, but we were assured by the Sports minister and we trusted him. This time we have people who are advising us and have good experience in handling such things," he said.

With the Supreme Court diverting their plea to lower courts on Thursday, the wrestlers are hoping for a fair investigation from Delhi Police.

"The statements of all the victims have been recorded now and we hope that the investigation starts soon," said Bajrang.

Could the protestors have asked for more in their petition to the Supreme Court?

Yes, feels Bajrang.

"I know we could have asked for more. I know it could have been there (the clause of monitored investigation) but it is okay now. We will start again with our legal team and we will start from the lower courts. We will not back down. This is not a fight of Bajrang, Vinesh, or Sakshi anymore. People are supporting us all across the country."

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