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Haryana 'khaps', farmer outfits throw their weight behind wrestlers

Haryana's 'khaps' and farmer outfits were among organisations which appealed to the protesting wrestlers on Tuesday not to immerse their medals in the Ganga, before the athletes called off the move

Wrestlers in Haridwar

Haridwar: Protesting wrestlers sit at Har ki Pauri, in Haridwar district, Tuesday, May 30, 2023. (PTI Photo)

Press Trust of India Chandigarh

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Haryana's 'khaps' and farmer outfits were among the organisations which appealed to the protesting wrestlers on Tuesday not to immerse their medals in the Ganga, before the athletes called off the move.
The wrestlers had announced they would immerse their medals in the river in Haridwar as a mark of protest to demand action against BJP MP and Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who they alleged sexually harassed women grapplers.
But the wrestlers did not carry out the threat after farmer leaders sought five days' time from them to resolve the issue.
Earlier, Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda also appealed to the wrestlers against immersing their medals in the river, saying the awards they have won for the country were not favours from any person or any government.
"The country that celebrates your victory is standing with you even today. Don't get disappointed! We appeal to you, come back! Change the decision of immersing the medals in the Ganga," the former Haryana chief minister said in a tweet.
BJP Lok Sabha MP from Hisar Brijendra Singh, son of former Union minister Birender Singh, said it was a "heartbreaking moment".
"I feel the pain and helplessness of our wrestlers forcing them to the brink of throwing away their lifetime of hardwork- the medals from Olympics, CWGs, Asian Games in the holy Ganga. Absolutely heartbreaking," he tweeted.
Throwing their weight behind the protesting wrestlers, Phogat Khap leader Balwant Nambardar had said, "We request them that these medals are the results of their hard work, sacrifices of their families and support from society. They should not take this step."

"It is unfortunate that those who represented the nation in top international tournaments are forced to take such decisions. The government should be ashamed and give justice to them in the case," he added.
Nambardar also said Haryana's 'khaps' and farmer organisations stood with the wrestlers in their struggle for justice. "Charkhi Dadri is ready to spill its blood for them."

Haryana BKU (Charuni) chief Gurnam Singh Charuni had also requested the protesting wrestlers not to immerse their medals, saying the awards were part of national heritage and future generations would take inspiration from these.
Kandela Khap leader Ramphal Kandela had also appealed to the wrestlers not to immerse their medals.
The country's top wrestlers, who were detained by Delhi Police and removed from their Jantar Mantar protest site, earlier in the day on Tuesday had said they will immerse their hard-earned medals in river Ganges and sit on a hunger strike "until death" at the India Gate.
Sakshi Malik, a bronze medallist at the 2016 Olympics, said in a statement on her Twitter handle that the wrestlers will go to Haridwar to immerse the medals into the holy river at 6 pm.
"These medals are our life and soul. We are going to immerse them in the Ganges. After that there is no point in living, so we will sit on a hunger strike until death at India Gate," she said in the statement written in Hindi. The same statement was also shared by her compatriot Vinesh Phogat.
Tuesday is Ganga Dussehra in Haridwar and possibly a day when a lot of people will be there to offer prayers.
On Sunday, Delhi police detained Malik along with World Championships bronze winner Vinesh Phogat and another Olympic medallist Bajrang Punia and later filed FIRs against them for violation of law and order, as dramatic scenes unfolded at the protest site at Jantar Mantar.

(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.)

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First Published: May 30 2023 | 11:25 PM IST

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