Olympic winning boxer Vijender Singh has said he would return the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award – India’s highest sporting honour – if the centre does not repeal the three contentious farm laws.
“If the government doesn’t withdraw the black laws, I will return my Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award,” said the boxer, who won the first ever Olympic medal for India in the sport in 2008.
Vijender Singh is the latest in the line of sportsmen, artistes and activists from across the country – majorly from the key protesting states of Punjab and Haryana – to have thrown their weight behind the “Delhi Chalo” protest, which entered its 11th day on Sunday.
A day earlier, boxing legends Kaur Singh, Jaipal Singh and Gurbax Singh Sandhu – instrumental in helping Vijender Singh secure his Olympic bronze – also made a similar statement if the centre did not heed farmers’ demands.
On December 3, former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal returned his Padma Vibhushan award — the second highest civilian honour of the country – in show of support.
Thousands of farmers have been camping along Delhi’s borders where they reached last week after days of braving water cannons, tear gas shells and barbed-wire barricades of the Haryana police. They are protesting against the new laws passed by the Narendra Modi government in September.
Support has poured in from all quarters for the farmers whose talks with the government have remained inconclusive till now.
Farmers have said they would settle for nothing less than a complete rollback of the “black laws”, and have called for a nationwide bandh on December 8.
The next round of talks with the Centre is due on December 9.
(With inputs from ANI)