New Delhi: The Indian Olympic Association on Monday urged athletes to support the ongoing protests against the new agricultural laws. They must believe in government to address this crisis, saying that they should treat their national honors and movement as “two separate issues.”
In a show of solidarity with the farmers, some athletes from Punjab and Haryana, including the Khel Ratna Award winner Vijender Singh, have threatened to return the national sports awards they have won.
“The late athletes are announcing the return of their national awards as a sign of their support for the latest farmers’ issue.
“… every Indian, including us, loves and supports the farmers and we all want to be happy because our farming community is the ‘Annadatas’ of our country,” he said.
The duo sought an early solution to the problem and urged the athletes to wait for the outcome of the dialogue between the government and peasant leaders. The next round of talks will be held on Tuesday.
“Government and farmer leaders are negotiating and we are all awaiting early resolution and relief. Let us rely on our government and the farmer leaders in the conversation for such a long time.”
Led by two-time Asian Games gold medalist Kartar Singh, some Punjab athletes marched to the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday and returned “35 national sports awards”.
However, he was stopped in the middle by police.
The parade athletes claimed to have the support of several Arjuna and other national sports award winners.
Earlier, India’s first Olympic medalist, Boxer Vijender, also supported the protesting farmers and threatened to return the Khel Ratna.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana have been camping in various Delhi border centers for a week in defiance of the new agrarian laws, claiming that the minimum support price system could be dismantled and left to the “mercy” of large corporate houses.
Farmers are concerned that these laws aimed at improving the sector will eliminate the MSP and knees that ensure their earnings. But the government says the MSP system will continue and new laws will give farmers more options to sell their produce.
Protesters have called for a ‘Bharat Bandha’ on December 8 with the support of various political parties.

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