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Ready to return awards: Wrestlers after violent scuffle at protest

Wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat threatened to return their awards and honors after abuses and violence last night.

Ready to return awards: Wrestlers after violent scuffle at protest

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 4 May 2023 8:59 AM GMT

Jantar Mantar, New Delhi: Angered and hurt by the violent behavior of Delhi Police last night, the protesting wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik have offered to return their awards and honors to the government here on Thursday.

Around 11 pm on Wednesday, a scuffle broke out at Jantar Mantar between the protesting wrestlers when they were bringing in folding beds for their night stay and the on-duty police personnel who allegedly began enquiring about that.

Wrestlers alleged a policeman of being drunk on duty and abusing the female wrestlers.

“If this is how the wrestlers will be treated, what will we do with the medals? Rather we will live a normal life and return all the medals and awards to the Indian Government,” Bajrang, an Olympic bronze medallist, told reporters on Thursday morning.

“When police are pushing us, abusing us, misbehaving then they don’t see that we are Padma Shri awardee, and not only me, there is Sakshi (Malik) also,” he said referring to the Rio Olympics bronze medallist.

Dushyant Phogat, who is the brother-in-law of Bajrang Punia and cousin of Vinesh Phogat was injured in the violence and had to be rushed to the hospital in last night's scuffle.

"They are behaving as if we are the ones doing any crime. This is not a political battle, we are just against WFI Chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh," Bajrang added further.

“They are misbehaving with us. Women and daughters are sitting on the streets, begging for kindness but no one is bothered about getting justice," he said.

There was security was increased at the Jantar Mantar site following last night’s ruckus between the wrestlers and a few Delhi police personnel.

"Every time we question the Delhi Police, they resort to aggressive methods. It has happened multiple times now," Vinesh Phogat said.

“Take it (medals) all away. We have been humiliated so much. We are fighting for our respect but we are being crushed under their feet. Does all men have the right to abuse women?,” said Vinesh, who is Khel Ratna's awardee.

“We will return all our medals, even give our life but at least get us justice.”

In conclusion, Bajrang requested, "I will request everyone to not paint this in political colors. We are protesting against one man and not the government."

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