‘Numb’ Sushil Kumar celebrates birthday in lock-up

Victim’s father demands he be stripped of medals

May 26, 2021 10:55 pm | Updated 10:55 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar celebrated his 39th birthday in lock-up on Wednesday. He is in six-day police custody after being arrested in a wrestler’s murder case.

A senior officer said that Mr. Kumar has stayed numb since the time of arrest. “His family members approached us as they wanted to meet him but they were denied. We passed on the birthday wishes to Mr. Kumar, however, he didn’t react. His body language shows that he is regretting his action,” said the officer.

The officer added that Mr. Kumar had asked for ‘wrestler’s diet’ during the custody period but that too was turned down. He was only given food from the police mess and has been under round-the-clock monitoring. He remains quiet all day and answers only a few questions.

Meanwhile, Ashok Dhankad, father of 23-year-old wrestler Sagar who died after he was allegedly brutally assaulted by other wrestlers inside Chhatrasal Stadium, asked the government to take back awards from Mr. Kumar.

“We demand fair probe in the case and strict punishment should be given to him for the offence. No guru [teacher] should do this to his disciple. The government should also take back the awards which were given to him,” said Mr. Dhankad, who is in the Delhi police force.

Mr. Dhankad said that his son’s wrestling career started from Pratap School in Kharkhoda and since 2013, he was practising in Chhatrasal Stadium.

Stiff competition

He had participated in the world championship in Finland and Asian Championship in Taiwan.

“Sagar, a former junior national champion, wanted to go to Georgia for practice as he told me that there was stiff competition in the senior category and he needed to prepare, but due to COVID-19, he could not go there. He has 10-12 medals, including, four to five gold medals,” Mr. Dhankad said.

Police said they have information that a day before the brawl, there was an argument between Mr. Kumar and Sagar at the stadium. Mr. Kumar felt humiliated and asked gangster Neeraj Bawana to help to teach a lesson to Sagar and his friends, the police said.

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