The champions of the Akhara have lost all their respect by becoming political pawns.

On January 18 last year, wrestlers under the leadership of Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia marched to Jantar Mantar and staged a protest there. They claim that Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Singh sexually harassed female wrestlers, including a minor. There have been many ups and downs in this matter in the last one year. Police filed a case against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and now the matter is in the court.

The wrestlers became silent after the case was filed against Brijbhushan Singh. But recently, Indian Wrestling Association elections were held under the supervision of the Supreme Court, in which Sanjay Singh, close to Brij Bhushan, and his group won. After this victory, the wrestlers again started the drama of resentment and demonstration. Sakshi Malik announced her retirement from wrestling in front of the media. The next day Bajrang Punia announced to return the Padmashree. He left the Padmashree award on the road outside the PM residence. After Sakshi and Bajrang, Vinesh Phogat announced to return Khel Ratna and Arjun Award. Like Bajrang, she also left her tribute on the road outside the PM residence. Wrestlers are doing politics under the guise of struggle to get justice.

It is an open fact that the wrestlers have the support of the Congress Party. There are also reports that the party may give tickets to Sakshi, Vinesh and Bajrang in the upcoming Lok Sabha or Haryana Assembly elections. In the latest episode, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi reached to meet the angry wrestlers. The entire country did not see the pictures of Rahul Gandhi visiting Bajrang Punia’s village and wrestling. Even after Vinesh’s award return, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi made sharp attacks on the Modi government through social media. The role of Congress Rajya Sabha MP Deependra Hooda from the wrestler movement till the present episode is public.

Our Constitution provides us the right to agitate for justice and raise our voice. But the players’ behavior like a political party worker cannot be justified. In the last one year, there were many such occasions when wrestlers, at the behest of their political masters, carried out acts that tarnished the image of the Modi government at the Center as part of a well-planned strategy.

Remember the day of 28th May. On this day the country got a new Parliament building. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla dedicated the new Parliament building to the nation. In fact, there are some moments in the history of every country which are immortal. Some dates become immortal signatures on the face of time. 28th May is one such day. There is no doubt that the Parliament building is not just a building but a reflection of the aspirations and dreams of 140 crore Indians. It witnesses the sunrise of self-reliant India and is a symbol of a developed India. But to add color to this historic day, the wrestlers marched to the new Parliament House at the behest of their political masters.

On December 30, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the newly constructed airport and railway station in Ayodhya Dham. Many new trains were flagged off to connect Ayodhya with the country. And announced schemes worth crores for the development of Ayodhya Dham. This program has great importance before the development of Ayodhya and the inauguration of Lord Shri Ram temple. But the wrestlers did not desist from pranking even on this day. Vinesh Phogat came outside the PM residence on the same day to return her Arjun and Khel Ratna awards and left her awards on the road. The negative behavior of wrestlers on special occasions proves that they are mere pawns or pawns of a political party. Based on past incidents, there is a possibility that wrestlers may do some new drama or stunt to add color to the auspicious occasion of Ramlala’s life consecration ceremony on 22nd January in Ayodhya.

The whole country wants the wrestlers to get justice. But the tricks and propaganda that the wrestlers are doing to get justice irritates the countrymen. An important question is that even when the wrestlers protested, they did not get the support of all the wrestlers or akharas of the country. At the same time, Khap Panchayats of Jat community also did not come openly in their support. From this it can be easily inferred that somewhere the wrestler fraternity and the Jat community believe that the wrestlers are doing politics in this matter. Believe me, if there was 100 percent truth in the allegations of the wrestlers, the entire country would have been seen standing with them. The allegations of the wrestlers cannot be called baseless and false, but adulteration of politics is clearly visible in these allegations.

Wrestlers want justice, but as per their wish. They want to dominate the wrestling federation. He wants to remain in wrestling bypassing the laws and rules. They consider themselves champions and consider it humiliating to give a trial. They want that they should be given entry in all major sports events without trial. This has already happened. Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia got direct entry in the 2022 Asian Games without trial. The result is in front of everyone. Vinesh did not enter the wrestling ring using the excuse of injury. And Bajrang Punia left the arena stunned with an embarrassing score of zero.

Not only wrestling, success in every sport requires discipline, patience and continuous practice. But when a player abandons discipline and practice and becomes a participant in politics, protests and conspiracies, then he is bound to return empty handed from the arena. If other wrestlers had represented the country in the 2022 Asian Games instead of Vinesh and Bajrang, two more medals would have been added to our medal tally.

Wrestling activities have come to a standstill in the country for the last one year due to protests and protests by wrestlers. As a result, the valuable time and hard work of the wrestlers is going waste. Perhaps the agitating wrestlers have no idea how much wrestling and wrestlers have suffered in this one year. This entire issue is sure to have the worst impact on women’s wrestling. Due to such circumstances and dirty politics, parents will think a hundred times before sending their daughters to the wrestling arena. The image of wrestlers and wrestling is being tarnished in the hearts of the countrymen due to the everyday new tricks and theatrics of the wrestlers.

There is no doubt that Vinesh, Sakshi, Bajrang won medals for the country. He brought glory to India in the country and the world. It cannot be denied that his hard work also includes the blessings of his countrymen and the support of the government. Today the sports career of these wrestlers is on the decline. They should pass on the benefit of their experience to the coming generations, so that the flag of wrestling can rise further. But the agitating wrestlers are leaving so much negativity in the wrestling arena that the new generation has no inclination or inclination towards wrestling.

If Brij Bhushan Singh is guilty then the Indian justice system and courts are so capable that they will give the harshest punishment to the accused. And any accused, no matter how capable and powerful he may be, should be seen sitting helpless on his knees before the law. Wrestlers should exercise restraint until the court’s decision comes. They should demonstrate their trust and faith in the justice system. If the agitating wrestlers want to do politics, then of course do it. This may be his personal decision. But he should not make the wrestling arena a platform for any political party to fulfill his ambitions. This is for the good of wrestling and the wrestlers.

-Ashish Vashishtha

(The author is an independent journalist)

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