After being evicted from their Jantar Mantar protest site on May 28, Malik, Punia, and Vinesh Phogat have resumed their work in the Indian Railways.
Top wrestlers Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia have denied media reports suggesting that they have withdrawn from the ongoing protest against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The reports alleged that Singh had sexually harassed several female grapplers.
Malik took to Twitter to refute the news, stating, “This news is completely wrong. In the fight for justice, none of us has backed down, nor will we. Along with Satyagraha, I am fulfilling my responsibility in Railways. Our fight continues till justice is served. Please don’t spread any wrong news.” She shared a screenshot of a news report from a news channel to support her statement.
Punia also tweeted, “The news of withdrawing the movement is just a rumor. These news are being spread to harm us. We have neither retreated nor have we withdrawn the movement. The news of women wrestlers raising FIR is also false. The fight will continue till justice is served.”
After being evicted from their Jantar Mantar protest site on May 28, Malik, Punia, and Vinesh Phogat have resumed their work in the Indian Railways. Records from the Northern Railways headquarters indicate that Malik, a bronze medalist in the Rio Olympics, returned to her office at Baroda House in New Delhi on May 31. This was a day after the dramatic events in Haridwar, where the trio had planned to immerse their international medals in the Ganga but were prevented from doing so due to the intervention of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) president Naresh Tikait.
On May 31, Malik issued a letter approving the conduct of Railways inter-divisional championships in various sports such as cricket (men), badminton (men), weightlifting, basketball (men), volleyball (men), kabaddi (men), wrestling, boxing (men), athletics (men), and hockey (men). HT has obtained a copy of the letter, which was sent to the divisional sports officers, the Divisional Railway Manager’s office, and all five divisions of Northern Railways — Ambala, Delhi, Firozpur, Lucknow, and Moradabad.
Malik, serving as Officer on Special Duty (OSD), signed the letter. Although attempts to contact Malik were unsuccessful, an official familiar with the situation confirmed the development, stating, “Yes, all three joined service a few days back. Since the khaps are now designing the future of the protest, the wrestlers have decided to return to work,” as revealed to HT by a source.