Concerned that the protesting wrestlers can take the extreme step of immersing their medals into holy river Ganga, members of the 1983 World Cup winning cricket team on Friday urged the elite athletes not to take a hasty decision and hoped their grievances will be heard and resolved. Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, who have been demanding the arrest of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Birj Bhushan Sharan Singh for alleged sexual exploitation of women wrestlers, took their protest to Haridwar on May 30 but did not carry out the threat of immersing their medals into Ganga.
On May 28, the Delhi Police had detained the wrestlers for violation of law and order when they marched towards the new Parliament building without permission.
The Police also cleared the protest site and made it clear that the wrestlers will not be allowed back at Jantar Mantar.
The police action against the wrestlers had invited criticism from different quarters.
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“We are distressed and disturbed at the unseemly visuals of our champion wrestlers being manhandled. We are also most concerned that they are thinking of dumping their hard-earned medals into river Ganga,” a statement released to PTI by the 1983 World Cup wining team read.
“Those medals have involved years of effort, sacrifice, determination, and grit and are not only their own but the nation’s pride and joy. We urge them not to take any hasty decision in this matter and also fervently hope that their grievances are heard and resolved quickly. Let the law of the land prevail,” the statement read further.
Under legendary skipper Kapil Dev, the Indian cricket team had humbled the mighty Clive Llyod led-West Indies to win the country’s first World Cup trophy.
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Sunil Gavaskar, Mohinder Amarnath, K Srikanth, Syed Kirmani, Yashpal Sharma, Madan Lal, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Sandeep Patil, Kirti Azad and Roger Binny had featured in the memorable final, played at the Lord’s on June 25, 1983.