'Did not know laws are different for a BJP leader': Sakshi Malik

Our only option is to win this fight, she says

29-Sakshi-Malik Sakshi Malik | Josekutty Panackal

THE PAST ONE and a half months have been traumatic for us. We have been raising our voice but it seems to be falling on deaf ears. On May 30, when we went to Haridwar to immerse our medals in the Ganga, our khap panchayats persuaded us to give them five days to find a solution.

It is a tough situation, no doubt, but we are fighting every day. Our families have been supporting us throughout; they are aware that this is a fight for truth and we have to prevail. It is a fight for all Indian girls. If we win, the message that goes out to them is that, yes, we can raise our voice against what is wrong and win the fight.

We had to think long and hard before starting this movement. We had to speak out when matters went too far—sexual harassment, sponsorship money not reaching wrestlers, the Wrestling Federation of India president ordering us to compete despite injuries. It was mentally harrowing; he would tell us which competition to participate in and we had no option. All these things added up. (Brijbhushan Singh has since stepped aside as federation president.)

Seven girls have complained and there are many more who want to come forward. But they are wary because they have their entire careers ahead of them. We have achieved something; they are yet to do so. Brijbhushan Singh knows everything, which girl said what in her complaint. He has all the information.

The law is the same for all—at least that is what we thought. Under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, he should have been behind bars by now. But we did not know that laws are different for a BJP leader. We did not realise that this would be a long fight.

When the police were not lodging a complaint against him, we had to go to the Supreme Court. That is when we realised that he is more powerful than we thought and that the government was trying to protect him.

It is about the dignity of so many girls. We realised that this is a fight we have to win at all costs. If we give up now, the girls coming into wrestling would be in more trouble. He has relatives and friends in every state association. If he goes, some other Brijbhushan Singh would take his place.

We are not going to reveal our plans because he is trying to make it difficult for us. Questions are being asked about our agenda. It is clear—get him arrested and clean up the WFI. We are not changing our demands.

I feel the truth can be troubled, but it will ultimately prevail. Our only option is to win this fight.

Malik is an Olympic bronze medallist.

As told to Neeru Bhatia