Wrestler’s Protests In India Through The Eyes Of A Young Indian

After a small chat with my peers about this, they feel that the situation isn't being handled the way it's supposed to be and thankfully more light is being shed on these protests thanks to videos and articles being circulated online.

The recent wrestlers’ protest has been drawing attention and has been in the limelight for a couple of months now. All this started on January 18th, 2023 after Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is the president of the Wrestling Federation of India ( WFI ) was accused of sexually harassing young female wrestlers and physically abusing them as well and amongst them, one of the victims was a minor but he is denying all the allegations. He also has a few criminal charges against him, one of them being murder, which he confessed to the crime himself in an interview.

As a young woman, I’m grateful to be privileged in many ways. But I often think. what if I didn’t have this privilege? I probably wouldn’t be where I am right now. I am surrounded by people who love and care for me and my parents are running so I can walk and take it easy, if I can put it that way. But at the same time, if I didn’t have this type of privilege, I would’ve learned the hard way of life by the time I was around 9 or 10. But since I have advantages all around me, I’m getting to the rocky part of life only now, when I’m gearing up for adulthood.

Famous wrestlers like Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, and many others joined hands to protest against Brij Bhushan to gain justice in April 2023. His abhorrent actions left them mentally tortured and the protests also questioned the legitimacy and power of the Indian government and shows how weak the justice system is. If they are fighting day and night for justice, being people of substance who’ve won various titles and medals for the country, what would it be like for another person going through something similar?

Following this, these wrestlers protested in Jantar Mantar, which is just a couple of steps away from the Parliament of India. They built up tents outside and had to live in harsh living conditions. Because Delhi’s summers are unbearable, living in the tents would’ve almost been like a nightmare. Vinesh Phogat tells us that when it rained, the areas would be filled with water and hence had to bring in cots. But when the cots were being brought in, male police officers abused them. I find it pretty absurd how these wrestlers are being manhandled by the cops just to get justice.

The makeshift tents were removed and the wrestlers were detained by the Delhi Police on 28th May 2023 while they were marching towards the new Parliament building. They want Brij Bhushan to be arrested and removed from the WFI. The government told them that they would take action in 4 months but their words never turned into actions.

On 30th May 2023, the wrestlers gathered at Haridwar and tearfully threatened to throw their precious and honorable medals into the Ganga River but a few farmers were successful in stopping them before it could all be swallowed by the Ganges. “We are going to shed these medals in the Ganga. Our medals which we earned after hard work are as sacred as River Ganga. These medals are sacred for the entire country and the right place to keep the sacred medal can be the holy Ganga and not our unholy system which masquerades us and stands with our oppressor after taking advantage of us. The medal is our life, our soul. We will sit on hunger strike at India gate till death,” they tell us.

With the news about these protests being updated almost every hour, we can see that our wrestlers are crying more and more for help and the government bodies aren’t hearing them out and hardly any action is being taken. This goes on to prove how much the government cares about its citizens. The protests have saddened other sportspersons as well and wish for quick justice. “This is a sensitive issue and must be dealt with impartially and transparently. Pertaining authorities must take quick action to ensure that justice is served.” says Neeraj Chopra. Mamta Banerjee is also supporting the wrestlers by holding rallies in Kolkata and said that she is proud of them.

The lack of support and the persecution that the wrestlers are facing isn’t very fair, in my opinion. I saw multiple videos of them getting detained and their faces showed a lot of anger yet sadness. But it also looked like they were determined to get justice and they were fighting for a totally valid reason. It’s kind of unfair how they were just protesting for their basic rights. After a small chat with my peers about this, they feel that the situation isn’t being handled the way it’s supposed to be and thankfully more light is being shed on these protests thanks to videos and articles being circulated online. Also, I wish justice would be served as quickly as possible as it’s taking longer than expected to conclude. It’s also kind of absurd how Brij Bhushan was still able to get away even though he has multiple criminal charges against him. And one of them being murder as well. If another person murdered someone they would be sent to prison or face a death sentence or something and I feel like he’s just abusing his power which is again not fair at all.

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It’s relieving for our wrestlers to know that some action is finally being taken. Anurag Thakur, who is the Union minister said that the government is looking deep into the case and the wrestlers demands and the necessary actions will be taken soon.

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Satvika Tupil

Just another teenager in this loud world writing quietly about the things that eye witnessed. Ig: @satvika_tupil read more...

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