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‘Where is our place in this unholy system?’

While the police and the system are treating us like criminals, the molester is cracking jokes about us in open meetings

‘Where is our place in this unholy system?’

NEW DELHI: You all saw what happened on May 28 – how the police treated us and lodged cases against us under stringent sections. Have the women wrestlers committed any crime by seeking justice for the sexual harassment that they suffered?

While the police and the system are treating us like criminals, the molester is cracking jokes about us in open meetings and even talking about amending the Pocso Act.

Deep within, we, the women wrestlers, feel we have nothing left in this country. We are reminded of those moments when we won medals in Olympics, World Championships. Now we are wondering, ‘Did we win so that the system can treat us like criminals’? Yesterday, many of our women wrestlers were in hiding, as the system which should arrest the molester was instead hunting them to scare the victims into ending their protest.

Now we feel that these medals adorning our necks have no meaning left. We were dying at the thought of returning them, but what’s the point in living after compromising with our self-respect?

The question is to whom should we return them. To our President, who herself is a woman? But our conscience said no. Because she kept watching all this, sitting merely two km away, without uttering a word. To our Prime Minister, who used to call us daughters? No, said our conscience, because not once did he ask about the daughters’ wellbeing. Instead, our molester was invited to the inauguration of the new Parliament and he was posing for photos in bright white clothes – as if declaring ‘I am the system’.

Where is our place in this shining system, where is the place for the daughters of India? Have we been reduced to mere slogans or political agenda to be used to come to power? We don’t need these medals anymore because this bright white shining system is indulging in propaganda by giving these to us. It uses us as masks and then exploits us. If we dare to speak up against that exploitation, they are ready to throw us in jail.

We are going to immerse these medals in the Mother Ganga. We consider Ganga to be sacred; these medals, too, are sacred for the whole country. So the right place to keep these sacred medals can only be the holy Mother Ganga and not with the unholy system that stands with our molester.

These medals are our life, our soul. After they drown in the Ganga, there will be no reason for us to live. That’s why we have decided to fast unto death at India Gate, the symbol of martyrs. We are not as sanctified as those soldiers; but when on the wrestling arena, we felt the same that they did.

The unholy system is doing its work and so are we. Now, it is the people who should decide whether they want to stand with their daughters or with this system which is harassing their daughters.

(Edited excerpts of the open letter written by the wrestlers. Later, they were convinced not to immerse the medals, which are now with farmers’ leaders. In another development, the sportspersons were denied permission to stage protest at India Gate.)

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