‘I will also return my Padma Shri’: Virender Singh after Bajrang Punia’s act

Image Source : PTI Virender Singh and former India President Ram Nath Kovind.

A day after Olympic wrestler Bajrang Punia went to return his Padma Shri award, another wrestler – Virender Singh claimed to return his award. Virender, who has won three Gold medals in four Deaflympics, took to social media to make the announcement.

Virender Singh has given his support to Sakshi Malik, who announced her retirement from the sport after former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh’s aide Sanjay Singh was named as the new president of the body. “I will also return my Padma Shri for my sister and the country’s daughter, Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji, I am proud of your daughter and my sister Sakshi Malik. But I would also request the top players of the country to also give their decision,” Virender wrote on his X account while sharing a photo of Malik. 

India’s Olympic medal winner Bajrang Punia on Friday went to Delhi’s Kartavya Path and kept his Padma Shri award on the footpath. He reasoned his act saying that when the women wrestlers are not getting respected, he does not want the award too. “When the women wrestlers are not given due respect, I do not deserve this honour either. We were on the road for 40 days, but the promises made by the government have not been fulfilled. Our fight is not against the government but against an individual. I believe in the judiciary but, with what is happening, I can’t keep faith in the system,” Punia told media after keeping the medallion on the footpath. 

He also wrote a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that the honours like Padma Shri are suffocating him. “I couldn’t understand where to go, what to do and how to live. The government and the people gave me so much respect. Should I continue to suffocate under the burden of this respect? In the year 2019, I was awarded the Padma Shri. I was also honoured with the Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award. I was very happy when I received these honours. It seemed that life had been successful. But, today, I am much unhappier than I was happy at the time, and these honours are suffocating me,” Punia said in a letter.

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