#IndiawithWrestlers : Humiliation Of Olympic Medal Winners Is A Blow To India’s Sporting Super Power Aspirations

It has been over a month since the country’s top wrestlers have been on protest demanding action against BJP MP and WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh who has been accused of sexual harassment. But there has been no addressal to their grievances. What the medal winning wrestlers have have got in return is plain humiliation and insult.

The government prides itself with slogans like Khelo India , Beti Bachao Beti Padhao but seems it is only on the lips only and not on the ground . The recent videos of the wrestlers being dragged, pushed, and roughed up circulated widely, leading to criticism from opposition leaders, women’s rights activists, and others. The delay in filing an FIR against Brij Bhushan, contrasted with the swift action taken against the protesting wrestlers, has raised concerns about the government’s handling of the situation.

Expressing her frustration, wrestler Sakshi Malik tweeted, “It took the Delhi Police seven days to file an FIR against sexual harasser Brij Bhushan, but didn’t even take them seven hours to register an FIR against us for protesting peacefully. Has dictatorship come to this country? The whole world is watching how the government is treating its players.” Malik and her fellow wrestlers – Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sangeeta Phogat saw FIR’s filed against them by Delhi police .

Backing Malik was Bajrang Punia who was quoted as saying : t is unfortunate that a person accused of sexual harassment attended the inauguration of the new Parliament building…It took Delhi Police only a few hours to register an FIR against us but it took them 7 days to register an FIR against Brij Bhushan Singh.

What is more discomforting in this entire scenario is the silence of Union Women and Child development minister Smriti Irani , Irani it may be recalled has not wasted any opportunity to lash out at the Gandhi’s Congress, AAP, Arvind Kejriwal, Mamata Banerjee, Sengol Furore etc but no word on the women wrestler’s angst.

Sharad Pawar, NCP president and former BCCI, ICC president in a tweet wrote, Its painful to see how Delhi Police has manhandled and detained our prominent women wrestlers who are seeking justice with democratic ways. I strongly condemn the reckless behaviour of Delhi Police towards our athletes who are the pride of our nation. Our democratic values and ethos has been ashamed today with this act of brutality.

Rajya Sabha MP Of UBT Priyanka Chaturvedi in scathing tweet wrote, Zero sympathy for those actors, sportspersons and celebrities who refuse to speak up on issues that matter for the nation’s future but are busy kowtowing to those in power for self protection. They will come for you too, in some cases they already have, yet you’ll crawl to serve them, with no lessons learnt.

Former Congress president, Rahul Gandhi . In a tweet in Hindi, he said, ‘The coronation is over – the ‘arrogant king’ is crushing the voice of the people on the streets,’ attaching a video of the manhandling of the protesting wrestlers by the Delhi Police.

Wrestlers are our icons. They have brought glory to the nation at the Olympics arena – 2016 Summer Olympics, she won the bronze medal in the 58 kg category, becoming the first Indian female wrestler to win a medal at the Olympics. Bajrang Punia – won Bronze medal at Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games in 65 Kg category. No ordinary feats these. They deserve respect.

A prominent  news channel covered in detail the nightmare of a woman  journalist arrested in Punjab with headline desh ki beti  . Is not a Sakshi Malik  or Vinesh Phogat desh ki beti ? . The Nation wants to Know.

India football skipper star striker Sunil Chhetri in a tweet wrote, 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.

And aptly nobody summed up the scenario better that Olympic Gold Medal winner in Javelin Neeraj Chopra in tweet , as he posting a video of Sakshi Malik , wrote, यह देखकर मुझे बहुत दुख हो रहा है | There has to be a better way to deal with this.

India hopes to be sporting super power . Well the goal no doubt should be the target . But to attain that one needs to support our athletes/ sportspersons too. Mere clicking of selfies , congratulatory Tweets on success and mum on crisis will not help matters. Hope sanity prevails and India shines at next Paris Olympics 2024. Till then we can keep our fingers crossed .

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