Vinesh to return Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award : The Tribune India

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Vinesh to return Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award

Vinesh to return Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award

Vinesh wrote to PM Narendra Modi to communicate her grouse. File

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 26

After Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, another prominent face of the protests in the sexual harassment case against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, Vinesh Phogat, has announced that she would be returning her awards.

Vinesh, who has won two World Championships medals, announced that she would be returning her Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna as well as Arjuna Award to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In a letter to PM Modi, which she released on micro-blogging site X, Vinesh said she was hurt how Olympics medallists Bajrang and Sakshi were forced into taking extreme measures.

“No mother in India would have the same fate as her daughter. Now I want to get rid of that image of receiving the award because that was a dream and what is happening with us right now is a reality,” Vinesh wrote in her social media post.

“I was awarded the Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award but now they don’t seem important to me. Every woman wants to live her life with respect so that’s why Prime Minister sir, I want to return my Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award to you so that these awards do not become a roadblock in my life,” she added.

Sakshi had announced her retirement on the day that Sanjay Singh, who was backed by Brij Bhushan, won the election to become the new Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president last Thursday.

Bajrang, meanwhile, left his Padma Shri medallion on a pavement near Kartavya Path after he was stopped by the Delhi Police from heading towards the Prime Minister’s Office.

In the letter, Vinesh also pointed to the fact that Sakshi was made the brand ambassador of the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign and that ever since registering their complaints against Brij Bhushan, women wrestlers have been targeted by him and his supporters. “Our lives are not like those fancy advertisements. Women wrestlers have suffered a lot over the years and one can realise how we have lived our lives under pressure. Those fancy flex advertisement boards are now old and now Sakshi Malik has retired,” she wrote.

“The abusers have announced how powerful they still remain and in fact he was involved in the humiliating sloganeering. If you take five minutes to watch what all he said in the media, you will know exactly what all he has done. He has called women wrestlers Manthara, he has owned up to the fact that he made us uncomfortable and he has never shied away from humiliating us all. Importantly, he has forced women wrestlers to withdraw their complaints,” she added.

“I have tried to forget all this but it is not that easy. Sir, I raised this issue when we met. We spent last year on the roads for justice but no one came to our aid. Sir, our medals were pegged at Rs 15 but they are worth more than our lives. We were honoured by our country when we won these medals but when we demanded justice we were painted as anti-nationals. Prime Minister ji, I want to ask you this, are we anti-nationals?” she added.

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#Bajrang Punia #Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh #Vinesh Phogat

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