Olympian wrestler Bajrang Punia, wrestling federation chief and one of the elite wrestlers leading the protest against BJP MP Brijbhushan Sharan Singh over sexual harassment allegations, today said the government has asked them not to talk about Saturday evening’s meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah. .
Mr. Punia told NDTV that they had no “setting” with the Home Minister and that Mr. Shah had told them that an investigation was underway. “The protest movement is not over, it will continue. We are strategizing how we can take it forward,” he said.
On rumors that the wrestlers who met the Home Minister had struck a deal and protested further to no avail, Mr. Punia said the government asked them not to discuss the meeting with Amit Shah, but leaked the information to the media themselves.
“The athletes are not satisfied with the government’s response, the government also does not agree with our demands,” Bajrang Punia, who had earlier told NDTV about the meeting, said of the internal discussions.
According to sources, the meeting started at 11 am and lasted for more than an hour. It was attended by Mr. Punia, Sakshi Malikkh, Sangeeta Phogat and Satyawarta Qadian.
The wrestlers have demanded an impartial probe and swift action against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh – who has been accused of sexual harassment by seven female wrestlers, including a minor, they said.
Amit Shah has assured wrestlers that the law is equal for all, it is learnt. “Let the law take its own course,” he told the wrestlers.
Bajrang Punia said they had asked the home minister why Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh had not been arrested yet and was indeed being protected, and insisted that the wrestlers would not back down on mere assurances of action.
On recent speculation that the protest would die down as the wrestlers rejoined their railway jobs, Mr. Punia said they took leave from their jobs and reported back for a day to sign in after being evacuated from the Jantar Mantar protest site in Delhi. “We haven’t gone back to our jobs since then,” he said.
“We have risked everything, and are ready to quit our government jobs if our movement is hindered. It is not a big deal,” he added.
“This is a fight for honor and dignity. We are not afraid of rumors or losing railway jobs. We will quit if anyone pressures us,” Mr Punia said.