New Delhi, December 6
Vijender Singh, who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games to become India’s first Olympics medallist in boxing, today said he would return his Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award if the government did not withdraw the three “black” farm laws. Vijender, who joined the Congress last year and fought an election in Delhi, today came to the Singhu border, where farmers have been protesting over the last few days, and expressed solidarity with them.
“If the government does not take back these black laws, I will request them to take back my award,” he declared. “Enough is enough. If the government does not listen to the demands of the farmers, then I have decided that as a show of solidarity, I will return my Khel Ratna,” the 35-year-old from Haryana’s Bhiwani said.
“Our big brother Punjab is here, and people from Haryana won’t be left behind,” Vijender said. “Punjab has made this beginning… This revolution came from Punjab earlier too, and it will happen in the future too. And Haryana will always be with you. I’m from Haryana, but I’ve trained in Patiala, I’ve had food and water there. Punjab ka bahut upkar hai mujh par.”
“I come from a family of farmers and armymen, I can understand their pain and anxiety. It is high time that government pays heed to their demands,” said Vijender, whose brother has served in the Army. “The award definitely means a lot to me but we also have to take a stand for things we believe in,” Vijender added. “If the crisis is resolved with talks, then we would all be happy.” — TNS, agencies
Former hockey captain to return Arjuna
Ludhiana: In support of the farmers’ protest against the agricultural laws, former Indian men’s hockey team captain Ramandeep Singh has decided to return his Arjuna Award. Ramandeep, who is currently settled in Edmonton (Canada), received the award in 1999. Ramandeep represented the country at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, the 1998 World Cup and the 1998 Asian Games, where India won gold. ANIL DATT