WATCH | Bajrang Punia leaves his Padma Shri award outside PM Modi’s residence

Image Source : PTI Bajrang Punia with his Padma Shri Award outside PM Modi’s residence in New Delhi on December 22, 2023

After posting a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media, the ace Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia left his Padma Shri award outside the PM’s residence in Delhi on Friday, December 22. Bajrang announced his decision to return his Padma Shir award amid his protest against Sanjay Singh’s election as President of the Wrestling Federation of India earlier in the day and later left the prestigious medal on the footpath outside PM Modi’s house.

Bajrang’s decision came after Sanjay Singh was elected the new WFI President on Thursday. Sanjay, a close aide of former WFI head Brij Bhushan Singh, won the polls by beating the former Commonwealth Gold Medalist Anita Sheoran 40:7. 

Top Indian wrestlers including Bajrang held a press conference on Thursday and displayed their displeasure at Sanjay’s election. Sakshi Malik, India’s first female wrestler to win an Olympic medal, stunned the world by announcing her retirement from the sport and left her shoes on the table at the press conference in Delhi.

Bajrang followed his fellow compatriots leaving his Padma Shri award on PM Modi’s doorstep. 

“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 wrote in his letter to PM Narendra Modi.

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