One of the protesting wrestlers, Bajrang Punia has criticized former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for his reported remark that a medal costs only Rs 15 and wrestlers should not even consider the crores of rupees spent by the government on their training.
Brij Bhushan, who was in the news for allegedly sexually assaulting women wrestlers, including a minor, said in a video interview that, not just medals, athletes should also return crores of rupees spent on their training. Bajrang, who is leading the protest at Jantar Mantar along with fellow Olympic medalist Sakshi Malik and Asian Games gold medalist Vinesh Phogat, on Friday said Brij Bhushan was degrading the medal by saying it was just Rs 15, which they have sacrificed everything for that.
"He (Brij Bhushan) has not given me the medal in charity. I have earned it for the country with my blood and sweat. He shouldn't have uttered these words if he truly respects our achievements." Bajrang said.
While Sakshi said that, at the age when she should have been playing with dolls, she started wrestling and "embraced the mud pits". "The medal he (Brij Bhushan) is saying is worth Rs 15, we have sacrificed everything for that. It's shameful that the champion athletes of the country are seeing such bad days. I have won this medal for the country, no one can put a price on it."
As the protest entered its 27th day, several women's organizations jointly submitted a memorandum to the President, Prime Minister, Home Minister, and Sports Minister demanding Brij Bhushan's arrest. They alleged in the memorandum that ever since the politician took over the WFI, women wrestlers have been facing sexual harassment.
The protesting wrestlers also said that the deadline given to the government to act against Brij Bhushan was about to expire in two days and the khap mahapanchayat could take a "big decision" after that. They also said that the agitation at Jantar Mantar will continue till the arrest of Brij Bhushan.