Wednesday, Sep 27, 2023

Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat Rejoin Duties At Railways, Continue To Protest

Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat Rejoin Duties At Railways, Continue To Protest

Protesting wrestler Vinesh Phogat also lashed out at media for running the story of wrestlers withdrawing from their protest.

(L to R) Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia sport black bands to observe Black Day
(L to R) Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia sport black bands to observe Black Day Tribhuvan Tiwari/Outlook

Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, and Vinesh Phogat have resumed their duties at the Indian Railways, but continue to be part of the wrestlers' protest.

Malik on Monday refuted that she has withdrawn from the wrestlers protest after media reports said that she has quit the protests and rejoined work.

Punia also said that such reports were "rumour" and the news of women wrestlers withdrawing their FIR is also "false".

After reports wrongly said Malik had withdrawn, Vinesh tweeted that it's not women wrestlers but media that's week.

For weeks, top Indian wrestlers have been protesting against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is also a Member of Parliament from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He is accused of sexual harassment and has two FIRs against him.

What did the wrestlers say?

Asserting that none of the protesting wrestlers have backed down, Olympic medallists Sakshi and Punia on Monday said they will continue their fight for justice and rubbished reports of their withdrawal from the protest as attempts to "sabotage" the movement.

The news of our withdrawing from the movement is just a "rumour", Punia said, adding that the report of women wrestlers taking back the FIR is also "false".

About the meeting with Shah on Saturday, Malik told reporters that it was a "normal conversation and no final solution has emerged". 

She said, "Our stance will remain the same, arrest the accused. Vinesh, Bajrang, and I are together in this fight and till we get justice, we will remain united."

Reacting to reports that she and Punia have withdrawn from the protest after they resumed their work in the Railways, Malik said the news was "completely wrong." VInesh had also resumed her duty in the Railways.

"In the fight for justice, none of us has backed down and we will not. Along with Satyagraha, I am fulfilling my responsibility in Railways. Our fight continues till justice is served. Please don't spread any wrong news," Malik tweeted.

On his part, Punia said,"This news is being spread to harm us. We have neither retreated nor have we withdrawn from the movement. The news of women wrestlers taking back the FIR is also false. The fight will continue till justice is served."

Asked if she has distanced herself from the movement since she resumed her duties in the Railways, Sakhi told reporters,"Let me make it clear, we are making our strategy to take our fight forward. We will ensure that there is no violence, how we can take the protest forward, we are working on that."

"I am (an) OSD (officer on special duty) first and I have a lot of responsibilities, so as long as we are making our strategy and not sitting on the protest, I will take care of my official duties. As far as the Railways are concerned, I am taking care of my responsibilities for the last couple of days," she added.

On the reports that the minor girl has withdrawn her FIR, she said,"This is all fake news to weaken our Satyagraha and our protest to alienate us from the public. This is wrong. We have not gone back on our fight and we will not do so. Till we get justice, the fight will go on."

"Those who said our medals were worth Rs 15 each are now after our jobs. Our life is at stake, a job is a very small thing in front of that. If the job appears to create an obstacle in the way of justice, then we will not take even ten seconds to quit it. Do not threaten us with a job," Punia tweeted in Hindi.

Vinesh Phogat, the two-time Olympian, also tweeted the same message in Hindi.

Vinesh Phogat's criticism of media

Phogat also asked if those who spread fake news even realise the trauma that women wrestlers are going through. 

"It is weak media that starts trembling in front of a goon's hunter, not female wrestler," she tweeted and also quoted a couplet from poet Abid Adeeb's poem to say that they will continue moving forward despite challenges. 

(With PTI inputs)


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