Cong questions Centre’s ‘silence’ over wrestlers’ ultimatum

New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) The Congress on Wednesday came out in support of wrestling protesters saying that it was unfortunate that they have to make the decision to immerse their medals in river Ganga, which is most sacred to them and questioned the silence of Prime Minister Narendra and the BJP government.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here along with Olympic medal winner boxer Vijender Singh, Deepender Singh Hooda said, “Yesterday the daughters and our wrestlers had reached Haridwar with their medals. They must have been in pain and their medals are like their life. Their medal signifies the sacrifice which they made to win and it is the pride of the country, their hard work. And immersing medals for any wrestler is like losing your life.”

Targeting the government, he said that it must have been insensitive to make them (wrestlers) think like that which broke them to such an extent.

Targeting the Prime Minister, Hooda, who is a Rajya Sabha MP, asked, “I want to ask PM Modi and the government why no appeals were made to the wrestlers not to immerse their medals? They used to get photographs clicked after they won medals. Why didn’t they made an appeal… they didn’t bother to say that we will conduct a fair probe. A message has gone that the government hates medals.”

Slamming the government, he said that they talk about Uniform Civil Code, “but does it not apply on the BJP leaders”.

“What is the reason that a man on whom seven wrestlers have made allegations is being protected by the entire government machinery,” he said, adding that this is not the first example as a similar case in Haryana came up against the state Minister Sandeep Singh.

He said that the government’s slogan of beti bachao, beti padhao, is hollow and the government is not ready to stand with the daughters.

Hooda said that till now 23 individual medals came till date and out of this 11 were won by players from Haryana in Olympics.

He also said that this country has a history of protecting daughters, even if they are from the families of its enemies and giving justice to daughters has been the tradition.

“Want to warn the government that for the insult of one woman, Mahabharata had happened. The way in which our daughters were manhandled was unfortunate. Don’t test the patience of people,” he said, adding that “don’t the daughters of Haryana deserve the respect and justice.”

Hooda also made an appeal to the players not to immerse their medals and also reconsider their decision of holding an indefinite hunger strike.

Meanwhile, Singh said, “Players from Haryana have brought laurels. Yesterday, we saw how Vinesh, Sakshi had gone to immerse their medals. It was very unfortunate. And I will stand with my wrestler sisters.”

He also said what would have happened if this thing had happened in the Congress government.

“Congress would have removed the Minister. The Prime Minister and Sports would have spoken to the players,” Singh, who won a bronze medal in the 2008 olympic said.

He also appealed to the people and media to give their support to wrestlers.

To a question about the Delhi Police sources claiming that no ground of arrest for WFI President has come till now, Hooda said, “The credibility of Delhi Police is in dock. The Delhi Police were not ready to register an FIR first. So they need to issue a statement on the details of its probe.”

His remarks came after many star wrestlers, many of whom had won Olympic medals, were on Sunday forcibly removed by police from their protest site at the Jantar Mantar after they tried to march towards the new Parliament House building.

Agitating wrestlers, including Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, and Bajrang Punia, handed their medals to Bhartiya Kisan Union chief and Balian Khap head Naresh Tikait, who had reached Haridwar’s Har ki Pauri to stop them from putting these into the Ganga as a symbolic act of protest against Wrestling Federation of India Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, whom they have accused of sexual harassment.

Tikait, along with the wrestlers, have now given five days to the government to sort out their demands, failing which wrestlers will go ahead with their decision to submerge their medals in the Ganga. – IANS

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