Renowned wrestler Virender Singh sat in front of the Haryana Bhavan in New Delhi after receiving the Padma Shri from President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The 'Goonga Pahalwan' is on an indefinite sitting protest, asking the state's chief minsiter, Manohar Lal Khattar, to provide equal rights to all para-athletes and recognise the hearing-impaired athletes in this category.
He sat in front of the building with his brother, Rambir, with his medals and awards along with him. Singh also brought his Arjuna Award trophy that he won back in July 2015 for his exemplary contribution in the field of wrestling.
Demanding Equal Rights For Para-Athletes
According to The Times of India, the athletes who are hearing-impaired do not come under any of the Paralympic categories. Their events are organised by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf, one of which is the 'Deaflympics.' Despite this very event being recognised by the International Paralympic Committee, it still does not allow these players to take part in the Paralympic Games.
After Singh received the award, Khattar congratulated him on Twitter and shared a photo of the same. To this, the wrestler responded, "Hon'ble Chief Minister, if you consider me as a para-athlete, then why don't you give me the rights of a para-athlete?" Further, he shared a photo of himself sitting in front of the Haryana Bhavan, stating that he will not budge until his demands are met.
Not Received Promised Incentives From The Government
The 35-year-old wrestler has brought a lot of laurels for the country. He won three gold medals at the Deaflympics (2005, 2013 and 2017) and a bronze medal in 2009, as reported by the Indian Express. He continues to make the nation proud, but he has not received his due at all.
"He has been visiting Haryana ministers for years, for incentives and government jobs for deaf sportspersons just like para-athletes. In 2017, State government announced a ₹6 crore incentive for him yet to receive. Grade A job, didn't get it. He has Grade C job," his brother, Rambir, told ANI. Currently, Virender Singh is a Junior Coach.
Director of Sports and Youth Affairs for Haryana Government, Pankaj Nain, called him to Chandigarh to discuss this matter. In another tweet, he added, "I will only talk to him if he talks about equal rights, otherwise I will sit and protest in front of the CM's house in Chandigarh.