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‘Willing to talk’: Minister’s midnight invitation to protesting wrestlers



'Willing to talk': Minister's midnight invitation to protesting wrestlers

‘Willing to talk’: Minister’s midnight invitation to protesting wrestlers

On Saturday, the wrestlers met Amit Shah at his residence to talk about their demands – days after threatening to immerse their medals into Ganga in Haridwar.

Union sports minister Anurag Thakur has invited wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, and others - who have accused Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual harassment and intimidation - to 'discuss their concerns'.

In a tweet posted shortly after midnight on Wednesday Thakur said: “The government is willing to have a discussion with wrestlers on their issues. I have once again invited the wrestlers for the same.” Thakur’s invitation comes days after the wrestlers met union home minister Amit Shah over charges against Brij Bhushan, who is also a Bharatiya Janata Party MP.

The wrestlers met Shah last week at his residence but declared themselves dissatisfied; Punia told broadcaster NDTV that protesters were ‘not happy with the government’s response’.

Punia said he demanded to know why Brij Bhushan – against whom Delhi Police filed two FIRs only after the Supreme Court intervened – had not yet been arrested and warned Shah the wrestlers would not back down. Punia later also told reporters he had been directed not to reveal that the wrestlers had met Amit Shah but said he chose to do so anyway.

The meeting with Shah came days after the wrestlers’ upped the ante in what is rapidly becoming a war of attrition against the government, declaring they would throw hard-earned medals from international sporting events into the Ganga river. That dramatic moment was ssupended after farmer union leader Rakesh Tikait – who led the protest against the BJP government’s (now-scrapped) three farm laws – persuaded the wrestlers to stand down.

Delhi Police question Brij Bhushan Singh’s associates, contacts

Meanwhile, last week, the police recorded statements from Brij Bhushan Singh’s associates and those working at his home in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda as part of their investigation.

Officials said the police - who last month were forced to issue a statement explaining that inquiries into the wrestlers' allegations were ongoing, after media reports said it had been completed with no evidence to suggest Brij Bhushan Singh's guilt - will submit a report soon.

So far, the police have 10 complaints in addition to the two FIRs against Brij Bhushan.

Wrestlers resume duties

Amid the controversy, Malik, Phogat and Punia have resumed their day jobs with the Indian Railways. Reports suggesting they had ‘withdrawn’ from the protest were quickly dismissed and they even stressed that they were ready to quit ‘if the job is seen to be an obstacle in the way of justice’.”… then we will not take even ten seconds to leave it…” they declared.

Source: hindustantimes

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