Released late on Sunday night from police detention, the wrestlers are contemplating their next move even as they continued to get support from the sporting fraternity after police action against the top grapplers was unequivocally condemned by many political leaders and sports personalities.
Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sangeeta Phogat, Sakshi Malik and several others were detained by Delhi police on Sunday when they attempted to move towards the new Parliament building for women’s ‘Mahapanchayat’.
Disturbing videos of police action against elite wrestlers emerged from Jantar Mantar, which will now remain out of bound for them.
The wrestlers are demanding the arrest of WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who they have accused of sexually exploiting women grapplers.
Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi posted a video from her twitter handle, clarifying that they have not given up.
“Police has filed FIR against us when we have not caused any damage to the public property. They were very cruel with us, one woman (wrestler) was being handled by 20 officers, you can see the videos.
“We want to inform our supporters, who are waiting for us at Gurdwara (in Ambala) and other places, that we spent this day devising our next strategy. We have not stepped back, the protest will continue. We will let you know our next step, keep supporting us,” she said.
Bajrang, Vinesh, Sangeeta and Sakshi did not take calls as several attempts were made to reach out to them.
“We will let you know soon what our next move will be. We are still gathering ourselves. I was released at 11pm and Bajrang was released around midnight. We are yet to meet at a common place. We will soon discuss it,” said one of the team members.
The police, which has filed FIRs against the trio of Bajrang, Vinesh, Sakshi and several others for violation of law and order, has made it clear that they will not allow the wrestlers to return to Jantar Mantar.
Meanwhile, India’s first individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra denounced the police action against the top wrestlers, saying the treatment meted out to the grapplers left him “sleepless” and he was “haunted” by the horrifying images.
Unprecedented scenes of police dragging Olympic and world championships medal-winning players, including Sakshi, Vinesh, Punia and Sangeeta Phogat, were witnessed when the wrestlers and their supporters breached the security cordon ahead of their march towards the new Parliament building.
“Last night was sleepless, haunted by the horrifying images of my fellow Indian wrestlers protesting,” tweeted Bindra, even as India’s most successful footballer Sunil Chhetri and former India all-rounder Kapil Dev too criticised the action against the wrestlers.
“It’s high time we establish independent safeguarding measures across sporting organizations. We must ensure that if such situations arise, they are dealt with utmost sensitivity and respect. Every athlete deserves a safe and empowering environment,” added Bindra, the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medallist in air rifle.
India football captain Chhetri, tweeted, “Why does it have to come down to our wrestlers being dragged around without any consideration? This isn’t the way to treat anyone. I really hope this whole situation is assessed the way it should be.”
Former all-rounder Pathan said a solution to the issue should be found immediately.
“I’m so sad to see the visuals of our Athletes. Please solve this ASAP,” Pathan tweeted.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)