Bajrang Punia Leaves His Padma Shri Outside PM’s Residence
NEW DELHI (IANS) – Even as the BJP government says nothing about the allegations of sexual harassment of women wrestlers by the former wrestling chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, India’s star wrestler Bajrang Punia, announced the return of his Padma Shri following the appointment of Brij Bhushan’s aide Sanjay Singh as WFI chief.
On December 21 evening, Bajrang headed toward PM’s residence where he was stopped by the Delhi Police outside the Kartavya Path. Punia as a mark of protest kept the Padma Shri Award on the footpath and left the place.
“I will give the Padma Shri award to anyone who will take it to PM Modi,” he said to Delhi Police.
A day after teary-eyed Sakshi Malik announced that she was quitting the sport, Bajrang wrote a letter to PM Modi, expressing his disappointment following the WFI polls.
Earlier in the day, in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Punia outlined the reasons behind his decision to return the prestigious award.
The wrestling body row, which had been simmering for a while, reached a tipping point for the athlete. Discontent with the management and administration of the sport he loved, Punia felt compelled to take a stand.
“We “respectable” wrestlers could not do anything. I will not be able to live my life as “respectable” after insulting female wrestlers. Such a life will torment me all my life. That’s why I am returning this “honor” to you,” wrote Bajrang Punia in a letter.
The Sports Ministry said Bajrang Punia’s decision to return his Padma Shri award in protest against Sanjay Singh’s election as Wrestling Federation of India president is a personal one but it will still try to convince him to rethink the move.
“It is Bajrang Punia’s personal decision to return Padma Shri. The WFI elections were held fairly and democratically,” a ministry official told the media. “We will still try to persuade Bajrang to reverse his decision to return Padma Shri,” he added.