Jiu-Jitsu, Workout, Bajre Ki Roti: Rahul Gandhi Meets Protesting Wrestlers
Wrestlers at an akhara in Haryana's Jhajjar district were in for a surprise this morning when they saw Congress MP Rahul Gandhi walking in
Wrestlers at an akhara in Haryana's Jhajjar district were in for a surprise this morning when they saw Congress MP Rahul Gandhi walking in. Mr Gandhi joined them for exercise, shared his Jiu-jitsu experience and also spoke about the unrest in wrestling circles over sexual harassment allegations against former wrestling boss Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
Among those present was Olympic Games bronze medallist Bajrang Punia, who announced that he is returning his Padma Shri and will not take it back till "sisters and daughters" get justice.
Wrestlers at Virender Arya Akhara in Chhara village said they had no clue that the Congress leader would visit. "Nobody told us that he's coming. We were practising here, and he walked in. He reached around 6.15 am," a wrestler told the media.
Asked what the Congress leader did at the akhara, the wrestler said, "He exercised with us. He has a lot of knowledge about wrestling. He spoke about Jujutsu and showed us some moves. He asked about wrestling, how points are scored. He had bajre ki roti, curd and hara saag."
Asked if there was a discussion on the current storm within the wrestling fraternity, the wrestler said they had told the Congress leaders that youngsters are very stressed about the situation. "Nationals will take place, but how will we solve this problem."
To a question on how Mr Gandhi responded to their concerns, the wrestler said, "What can he do in this matter? It's in the government's hand."
Visuals also showed wrestlers giving a bunch of radishes to the Congress leader.
Mr Poonia said the Congress leader had come to see a wrestler's daily activities and joined him for exercises.
Mr Gandhi posted shots from his visit on X, previously Twitter. "The question is if these people have to quit wrestling in akhara to join the fight for justice for India's daughters, then who will encourage their children to choose this path?"
"These people are from the families of farmers, they are simple people, let them serve the Tricolour," he said in a post.
वर्षों की जीतोड़ मेहनत, धैर्य एवं अप्रतिम अनुशासन के साथ अपने खून और पसीने से मिट्टी को सींच कर एक खिलाड़ी अपने देश के लिए मेडल लाता है।
आज झज्जर के छारा गांव में भाई विरेंद्र आर्य के अखाड़े पहुंच कर ओलंपिक पदक विजेता बजरंग पूनिया समेत अन्य पहलवान भाइयों के साथ चर्चा की।
सवाल… pic.twitter.com/IeGOebvRl6— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) December 27, 2023
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), the country's top body for the sport, has been in the news for the wrong reasons ever since its former boss and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh was accused of sexually harassing women wrestlers.
A protest against him was led by Mr Poonia, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat and Olympics Games bronze meddalist Sakshee Malikkh.
In the latest elections of WFI, a close aide of the BJP MP won the top post. In protest, Ms Mallikkh quit wrestling and Mr Poonia and Ms Phogat returned their awards.
The activities of WFI have now been suspended by the centre over hasty announcement of the junior nationals. The Sports ministry's statement has also noted that the newly elected body "appears to be (in) complete control of former office bearers in complete disregard to the Sports Code".