Indian wrestlers postpone medal-immersion protest against chief


India's top wrestlers were talked out of their plans to toss their medals into the river Ganges on Tuesday as part of their ongoing demand to arrest their federation chief over sexual harassment allegations.

The athletes had been camping in New Delhi since April 23 demanding action against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has denied allegations of harassing female athletes.

Several of the protesting wrestlers were briefly detained by Delhi Police on Sunday and their camp site was cleared after they tried to move towards India's new parliament building.

Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, and Asian Games champion Vinesh Phogat reached the north Indian town of Haridwar along with fellow wrestlers to dump their medals as a mark of protest.

A prominent farmers' leader, Naresh Tikait, convinced them to call off the act promising a solution within five days.

"Because of them, we hold our head high in international sports arena," Tikait told the media.

"We will make sure they won't have to hang their head in shame."

A member of parliament for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Singh has been stripped of his administrative powers.

Earlier on Tuesday, the wrestlers issued a statement spelling out their plans to drown their medals in the river.

"For us, our medals are sacred, and so is the river Ganges," they said in a statement in Hindi.

"This holy river is the perfect custodian of our medals, not the system that shields the offender."

They also announced plans to begin an indefinite hunger strike at the India Gate war memorial in New Delhi.

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