Bajrang Punia’s Bold Move: Returns Padma Shri in Protest Against WFI Elections

Tokyo Olympics medalist takes a stand as wrestling community grapples with controversies and retirements.

Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia returns Padma Shri in protest over the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) elections. The election results, where a close aide of the controversial Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh emerged victorious, led to Punia’s hard decision.

Amidst the fervour of wrestling victories, an unsettling protest unfolds as Bajrang Punia, adorned with accolades like the Padma Shri, takes a drastic step. His decision to return the prestigious award is a protest against the controversial outcome of the recent Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) elections.

Wrestling for Justice: A Plea to the Prime Minister

In a heartfelt letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Punia says the grievances of the wrestling community. The letter highlights the persistent struggle against sexual harassment accusations. And stated the unfulfilled promise of justice and the recent resurgence of controversial figures in WFI elections. Punia’s plea reflects not just his stance but echoes the collective voice within the wrestling fraternity.

The Saga of Unresolved Grievances

Punia, the stormy journey of protests that began in January, led by women wrestlers accusing Brij Bhushan Singh of sexual harassment. Despite assurances, justice remains elusive, leading to a renewed protest in April. The resilience of the wrestling community faces challenges, including vandalism of their protest site and alleged pressure.

A Decisive Election and Its Fallout

The climax of this unfolding drama culminates in the WFI elections on December 21. Sanjay Singh, a close associate of Brij Bhushan Singh, emerges as the president. This victory triggers the retirement announcement of Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik, marking a profound moment in Indian wrestling history. The echoes of disappointment and disillusionment resonate with Punia and the wrestling community at large.

As Bajrang Punia pens his protest through the return of Padma Shri, the wrestling arena echoes discontent. The unfolding chapters of protests, promises, and now retirements paint a complex narrative. Once a symbol of success, the sport now wrestles with controversies threatening its integrity. Punia’s symbolic act transcends personal honours, seeking justice and reform within the Wrestling Federation of India.

The wrestling fraternity is involved in a web of discontent and disillusionment in this arena, where grit and resilience should define victories. As medals get immersed in the Ganga and retirements are announced, the struggle for justice in Indian wrestling continues, leaving an indelible mark on the mat and in the hearts of those who once fought for glory.

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma is a seasoned Political Journalist with a deep passion for Indian Politics. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has established himself as a trusted… More »

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