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Homechevron_rightIndiachevron_rightFarmers' leader...

Farmers' leader persuades wrestlers not to immerse medals, gives five-day ultimatum

wrestlers protest

Haridwar: The wrestlers who reached Haridwar on Tuesday to throw their medals into the river Ganga were persuaded by famers' leader Naresh Tikait. The medals were handed over to him, and he gave the government a five-day ultimatum to act on the demand of the protestors.

"Entire Indian government is saving one man (WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh). There will be a khap meeting tomorrow," said the BKU leader. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann also backed the women and said it was shameful for India that wrestlers had to go to Haridwar to protest.

The wrestlers on May 28 removed their protest from Delhi's Jantar Mantar when they were planning to march to the new parliament building. The protest is against the inaction against the BJP MP and chief of WFI Brij Bhushan Singh whom they have accused of sexual harassment of several female athletes including a minor. The Delhi Police have filed two cases against him but he is not yet arrested. This is unusual for a case involving the POCSO Act.

On Tuesday morning, they said they are throwing their medals into the Ganga as a mark of protest against the government protection of Singh. "These medals are our lives, our souls. There will be no reason to live after throwing them in the Ganga today. So, we will stage a hunger strike until death at India Gate after that."

Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, along with world championship medallist Vinesh Phogat were accompanied by family members and supporters when they arrived at Haridwar on Tuesday afternoon. he Ganga Sabha – a body of purohits and pandas of Haridwar - said it will not allow the wrestlers to carry out the protest because that will be using the place "to do politics and protest". An official Tanmay Vashisht said they can use any other ghat on River Ganga.

The supporters who held placards and raised slogans against Singh also appealed to the wrestlers not to throw their medals into the river. The women wrestlers sat on the banks of the river during the Hindu festival of Ganga Dussehra. They appeared emotional.

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