Denying reports that wrestlers have withdrawn their ongoing protest in the National Capital against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is facing accusations of sexually harassing some women grapplers, Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia on Monday clarified that this news was completely wrong and none of the wrestlers have stepped back.
In a tweet in Hindi, wrestler Bajrang Punia said: “The news of withdrawing the movement is just a rumour. These news are being spread to harm us. We have neither retreated nor have we withdrawn the movement. The news of women wrestlers taking back the FIR is also false. The fight will continue till justice is served.”
Sakshi was earlier seen at the office of the Northern Railways in Delhi, triggering speculations that she has rejoined her office.
After getting evicted from Jantar Mantar on May 28, top wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat have resumed their duties in the Railways, sources said.
As per reports, records from the Northern Railways headquarters show Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik joined her Baroda House office here on May 31, a day after the trio stopped short of immersing their international medals in the Ganga.
On Monday, Sakshi, too, confirmed the news. She, meanwhile, denied rumours that she withdrew from the agitation. “The news is completely wrong. None of us has backed down. We will continue our fight for justice and meanwhile I am fulfilling my responsibility in Railways,” she said.
“No this is all rumours we did not call off the protest. I came to the office to finish some pending work for a day or two and we are making our strategy on what to do next, how to continue the protest in a non-violent way” Sakshi Malik told a news agency.
When asked about claims that she has rejoined work, the grappler who is an Officer on Special Duty (Sports) in the Railways and needed to finish pending work.
“I have a lot of responsibilities. Till the time we are not sitting on a protest, I have resumed my duties as I am an OSD I and came to finish some pending work. We are looking at our future strategy,” Sakshi clarified.
When asked about the claims that the minor who was among the grapplers who had accusing WFI chief Bhushan of sexual harassment had taken back her complaint, she said, “This is all fake news to discredit our protest in the eyes of the public and to make us lose public support.” “This is all wrong, we never backed down in this fight and never will. Until we get justice this protest will continue,” she added.
Earlier, Bajrang, Sakshi and Vinesh had met Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his residence to discuss the matter related to their protest against the WFI chief.
Talking about her meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday, Sakshi said that it was a normal conversation and no final solution was achieved. “Our demand will be the same, to get the accused arrested,” she said.
“We have not withdrawn our names, Vinesh, I and Bajrang are together in this protest and we have not withdrawn our names,” she added.
Earlier on Monday, the Olympian wrestler too had taken to Twitter to refute the reports that wrestlers had withdrawn their protest. “This news is completely wrong. In the fight for justice, none of us has backed down, nor will we. Along with a Satyagraha, I am fulfilling my responsibility in the Railways. Our fight continues till justice is served. Please don’t spread any wrong news,” she tweeted.
Olympians Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat had been on protest since the beginning of this year in order to press for the removal and arrest of the WFI chief over allegations of sexual harassment.
On May 28, wrestlers had planned a march and protest in front of the new Parliament, despite the imposition of Section 144 in the area. They were detained on their way by the Delhi police and FIR was filed against them under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 147, 149, 186, 188, 332, 353, Section 3 of the PDPP Act. The protest site was also cleared by the Delhi Police.
Following their removal from Jantar Mantar, Wrestlers arrived in Haridwar two days later to immerse their medals in the Ganga. However, they later issue a five-day ultimatum to the Centre to act against the WFI chief following the intervention of farmer leader Naresh Tikait.
The Delhi police have registered 10 complaints and two FIRs against WFI chief Brij Bhusan Singh.