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From India's Daughters to PM Modi: Sakshi & Vinesh Make an Appeal for Justice

Watch this appeal by women wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik that didn't reach PM Modi.

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Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma

"Is this how you treat country's daughters?", cried Sangeeta Phogat as she, along with other wrestlers, were being dragged on streets by police personnel on 28 May.

The visuals of manhandling of sports-icons by the police went viral and were met with very strong reactions.

Phogat was accompanied by her husband and Tokyo Olympic medallist wrestler Bajrang Punia, Rio Olympic medallist wrestler Sakshi Malik, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games champion wrestler Vinesh Phogat, along with other national wrestlers.

The police acted against these wrestlers as they were starting their protest march from Jantar Mantar to the new Parliament, which was being inaugurated by the Prime Minister.

The wrestlers have been staging a dharna at Jantar Mantar for over a month now, demanding the arrest of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over allegations of sexual harassment.
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The police also registered FIRs under different sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including rioting, unlawful assembly.

Before the chaos of 28 May, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik made an appeal to the Prime Minister, asking for justice. Here's what they told to The Quint:

'Our Medals Are Celebrated Then Why Are Our Voices Left Unheard?'

"We have put our blood and sweat to win medals for the country. We have always worked for the tricolour's glory. The daughters who played for the tricolour's glory are now helpless to save their self-respect," said Vinesh Phogat.

"When we won the medal, Prime Minister sir invited us to his house and called us his daughters. But now he is not ready to listen to us."
Sakshi Malik

'Is Govt Trying To Save Brij Bhushan Singh?'

Allegations of sexual harassment were levied on Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh back in January, with the grapplers demanding his removal from the federation. But with no action against Singh after over four months, the wrestlers have now decided to continue their dharna until Singh’s arrest.

"Till now, it seems that Singh is being saved, otherwise he would have been behind the bars under the POCSO Act," Malik said to The Quint.

'Why Are We Being Abandoned Like This?'

"One thing that is bothering us," said Phogat, "is that those who should speak are silent. If the country's Prime Minister comes forward for us, then we may get justice."

"We will leave as soon as we get justice. We don't have any political agenda. We are athletes and want remain athletes only. We want to represent India and want to relive that smiling photo from the podium."
Vinesh Phogat
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'If Justice Is Not Given To Us, Then...'

"If we are still not given justice, then this will be written in dark letters that India's daughters, who won medals for the country, sat on streets for so many days and were not given justice. This will shatter the hopes and beliefs of all the citizens from the system of democracy, that you are not giving justice to anyone," added Phogat.

The Delhi Police, on 28 May, also cleared the wrestlers' protest site at Jantar Mantar. The detained wrestlers were released later that evening, after which Sakshi tweeted, "our movement is not over."

On 30 May, in an elongated statement expressing their disappointment with the government, the Prime Minister, and the President, the wrestlers announced they will submerge their medals in river Ganga.

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