Updated December 24th, 2023 at 21:08 IST
Bajrang Punia refuses to take Padma Shri back until 'justice is served'
Wrestler Bajrang Punia, on Sunday, refused to take his Padma Shri back until the "sisters and daughters get justice."
Wrestler Bajrang Punia, on Sunday, refused to take his Padma Shri back until the "sisters and daughters get justice." Punia returned the prestigious award on December 23 and issued a length statement on social media.
"We trust only in God. I returned my Padma Shri award for my sisters and daughters, I returned it for their honor and I do not want any honor until they get justice," Punia said in a post on X.
The Olympian announced to return his award over the selection of Sanjay Singh, a close aide of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh as the new Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President. Wrestler Sakshi Malik, on the other hand, announced on December 21 that she is quitting wrestling over the WFI election.
On December 22, Punia said in his statement that he is finding it hard to live with the award which was bestowed upon him in 2019. A day later, Punia headed to the PM's residence in New Delhi to return the Padma Shri. He later placed the award on a pavement after he was stopped by the Police at Kartavya Path.
"The daughters who should have been brand ambassadors of 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' have been forced to back down from the sport. We 'respected' wrestlers could not do anything. I would not be able to live with the 'respect' after female wrestlers are disrespected. That is why I am returning the 'respect,' Punia said in his statement.
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, on Sunday, refused to comment on Punia's decision to return the award. "I have already spoken enough. No more comments,” Thakur said when asked about the controversy in Bengaluru.
Published December 24th, 2023 at 21:08 IST