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Protesting wrestlers threaten to return their medals, awards after clash with Delhi Police


Protesting wrestlers vowed to return their medals and accolades, including the Padma Shri, to the government on Thursday, claiming these distinctions serve no purpose if they have to face such humiliation. Around 11 p.m. on Wednesday, a scuffle erupted when the wrestlers brought in folding beds for sleeping, prompting the on-duty police officers to inquire as such items are not permitted at the protest site. Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik alleged that male police officers assaulted and pushed them, leaving them in tears. Two wrestlers were injured, including Sangeeta Phogat’s brother Dushyant. Vinesh, Sakshi, and Bajrang are all Khel Ratna winners, the country’s highest athletic distinction. Skashi (2017) and Bajrang (2019) have both received the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian decoration.On April 23, the wrestlers resumed their protest, seeking the arrest of WFI president and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for alleged sexual harassment of seven female wrestlers, including a minor. The case is before the Supreme Court, and the Delhi police have also filed two FIRs against the WFI chief, who has rejected all charges and stated that the protest was politically motivated.


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