Wrestlers Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, and Vinesh Phogat have announced their decision to symbolically “immerse” their medals in the Ganga river at Haridwar in Uttarakhand in response to allegations of sexual harassment involving several women wrestlers, including a minor. They have been protesting against BJP MP and wrestling federation head Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
They acknowledge that their life might be meaningless without the medals, yet they continue to uphold their self-respect. The wrestlers’ letter detailed their deliberations over who should receive the medals in return. They emphasised how, despite being so close by and being a woman herself, the President chose to keep mute and avoid addressing the matter. This played a role in their decision not to feel inclined to give her the medals back.
Who used to call us daughters, our Prime Minister? He didn’t even once inquire about these daughters, so we didn’t feel like it. Instead, our oppressor was taking pictures while wearing sparkling white attire at the opening of the new parliament building. The letter, which was posted by elite grapplers Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, and Bajrang Punia, further stated that “this white was stinging us as if it were saying ‘I am the system’.”
This system does its own propaganda by putting a mask over us and hanging medals around our necks, so we don’t need them anymore, it declared. When we protest, they exploit us and imprison us, it continues.