In a joint statement, the 1983 triumphant team said, “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”
Captain of the 1983 World Cup winning Indian cricket team Kapil Dev speaks next to his teammates. File pic/AFP
Members of the 1983 World Cup winning cricket team on Friday came out in support of the protesting wrestlers and urged them not to take any hasty decision while hoping that players’ issues will be “heard and resolved”.
In a joint statement, the 1983 triumphant team said, “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.”
“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,” it added.
Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and many other wrestlers, who have been demanding the arrest of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Birj Bhushan Sharan Singh for alleged sexual exploitation of a minor and six women wrestlers, took their protest to Haridwar on May 30. But, they did not carry out the threat of immersing their medals into river Ganga.
“I am not going to say anything individually, the whole of 1983 team stands by the statement we have issued,” said legendary skipper Kapil Dev, under whom the Indian cricket team had humbled the mighty Clive Lloyd led-West Indies to win the country’s first World Cup trophy. The other members of the ’83 batch include current Roger Binny, who is now BCCI president, iconic Sunil Gavaskar, Mohinder Amarnath, K Srikanth, Syed Kirmani, Yashpal Sharma, Madan Lal, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Sandeep Patil and Kirti Azad.
On May 28, the Delhi police had stopped the wrestlers from marching towards the new Parliament building, even as it was being inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi, and detained them.
The police action had invited criticism from different quarters. Among other former Indian cricketers, Anil Kumble, Robin Uthappa and Irfan Pathan have shown solidarity with the elite wrestlers. The active cricketers are yet to comment on the controversy.
Ayodhya says no to Brij Bhushan’s rally
The district administration has denied permission to BJP MP and WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh to hold a rally here on June 5 in view of the events scheduled on the World Environment Day on June 5, an official said on Friday. Singh, however, claimed he postponed the ‘Jan Chetna Maharally’ for “a few days” due to the ongoing police probe into the wrestlers’ allegations against him.
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