As an intense and dramatic Tuesday drew to a close, the protesting wrestlers decided not to throw their hard-earned gold medals in the river Ganga at Haridwar. The complete silence from the government’s side continued even at this time when India’s sporting heroes were about to sacrifice the laurels they had earned for the nation.

The events unfolded as gold winning wrestlers Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat on Tuesday declared that they will throw away their medals into the river Ganga to protest against the Delhi Police’s domineering display of might on Sunday. The wrestlers added that they will also sit on a fast unto death at the India Gate in New Delhi.

However, according to various reports Delhi Police has refused them permission to continue their protest. The police have asserted that the “wrestlers will not be allowed to protest at India Gate, as the national monument is not a site for demonstrations”.

The Rio Olympic bronze medalist Sakshi then posted a video from her Twitter handle, clarifying that they have not given up their quest for justice. This came despite the Delhi Police announcement that it will not allow the players back to Jantar Mantar.

Known as Delhi’s democratic protesting space, Jantar Mantar is now heavily barricaded. The security personnel on duty are checking the credentials of journalists and the protesters as well.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the wrestlers along with a huge crowd of supporters reached Haridwar to immerse the medals. They sat in protest near the river and after nearly 1.5 hours of contemplating and some emotional breakdowns eventually decided not to do so.

They were surrounded by supporters, colleagues, friends and family as well as Khap leaders, and village elders. Meanwhile, Opposition parties and leaders requested the national players to not throw away their medals.

Congress leader Deepender Singh Hooda told the protesting wrestlers that they got these awards through hard work and not due to the kindness by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The Rajya Sabha MP from Haryana told reporters that the wrestlers should not immerse their medals in the river.

“These medals are the country's honours. These medals have not come by any act of kindness by BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The sportspersons won it through their hard work,” Hooda said. He added that the government has repeatedly insulted sportspersons and daughters.

“Similar behaviour was meted out to them during the inauguration of the new Parliament building. The sports persons are going to immerse their medals in the Ganga in Haridwar. People are extremely sad about it. I would appeal to the sportspersons to not do this,” he said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday also extended her support to the wrestlers averring that she spoke to them over the phone, asserting her support for and solidarity with them and criticising the BJP government for their ill-treatment.

Banerjee has repeatedly issued statements endorsing the protest by the wrestlers, saying she was appalled that Singh was yet to be arrested.

“Our nation’s wrestlers are being beaten up, facing harassment… so much so that our nation’s pride has been dashed to the ground,” said Banerjee during a news conference at Nabanna, the state secretariat.

“I spoke to the wrestlers this afternoon (Tuesday), in solidarity, and offered them our full support,” added the Trinamool Congress chief. “The medals they won are a matter of great honour for the nation, which they won on the basis of their own performance. They should continue with their movement, we are with them,” she said.

She also announced a protest march in solidarity with the wrestlers in Kolkata on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) has filed a case with the National Human Rights Commission seeking action against the Delhi Police for "manhandling and assaulting" protesting women wrestlers at Jantar Mantar here, party spokesperson Saket Gokhale said Tuesday.

“On behalf of my party TMC (@AITCofficial), have filed a case with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking action against Delhi Police for manhandling & assaulting our protesting women wrestlers. This is not only a violation of their fundamental right to protest but also a violation of their rights as women.

"We appeal to @India_NHRC to be objective and impartial and take swift action on this," Gokhale tweeted.

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday, slammed the BJP-led Union government, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi gives long lectures on respect for women from Red Fort and yet protects those accused of harassing women.

In a series of tweets he said, “The daughters of India are saying that "police and system" are no longer sacred. Everyone has seen what has happened to the daughters who have brought laurels to the country for the last several days. Modiji gives a long lecture on respect for women from Red Fort, but those accused of sexual exploitation have full protection.”

"After all, what is this stubbornness, why can't daughters get justice? Why have only daughters been made to stand in the dock? Why are they forced to immerse their medals in the river Ganga? Hurt the pride of the country, save the criminal, not 'save the daughter' [is this government’s motto].”

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate also hit out at the government, saying, “What is it that the whole government is bowing down in front of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh? What is the fascination that PM Modi and Amit Shah have with Brij Bhushan that PM Modi himself protects him? He has serious charges against him including under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act. He (the PM) talks about the respect of women from the Red Fort and protects the accused. This is an anti-daughter government.”

Shrinate also appealed to the wrestlers that their medals are their hard-earned prizes and the "pride of their country" and they should not throw them into the Ganga.

“Sakshi Malik is the only woman to have won a medal in wrestling at the Olympics. On August 18, 2016, Sakshi raised the honour of the entire country and the tricolour. Today she is sitting on the ghat of the Ganges to immerse her medal. If the soul of the government is not dead, the Prime Minister has not become a dictator... then what is this?” she said.

She further said, “The daughters of our country were beaten, lathi-charged, trampled under boots. Smriti Irani says the next day — nine years of women's power. History is the witness that whenever there has been an attack on the pride of women, then the price has to be paid,”

Farmer and Khap leader Naresh Tikait also intervened and stopped protesting wrestlers from immersing their medals in the river Ganga and said that there would be a Khap meeting over the issue.

Accused Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on Tuesday responded to the protesting wrestlers, who gathered at Haridwar said that the charges against him are already being probed by the Delhi Police.

Singh, who is facing allegations of sexual harassment by women wrestlers, added that the decision by the grapplers to consign their laurels to the waters was purely a stand taken by them.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, the six-time BJP MP said, "The matter is under investigation by the Delhi Police. If there's any truth to the charges (levelled against him by the wrestlers), an arrest will be made," the WFI chief added.

On the other hand, amid the continuing protest, the United World Wrestling (UWW) has issued a statement condemning the detention of wrestlers during a march to the new Parliament building on Sunday.

The UWW also expressed "disappointment over the lack of results of the investigations" against the federation chief and threatened to suspend the federation if its elections are not held within 45 days.

“UWW firmly condemns the treatment and detention of the wrestlers. It expresses its disappointment over the lack of results of the investigations so far. UWW urges the relevant authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the allegations,” the world wrestling body said in a statement.

“UWW will request further information about the next elective general assembly from the 10A and the Ad-hoc Committee of the WFI. The 45-day deadline that was initially set to hold this elective assembly shall be respected. Failing to do so may lead UWW to suspend the federation, thereby forcing the athletes to compete under a neutral flag. It is reminded that UWW already took a measure in this situation by reallocating the Asian Championship planned in New Delhi earlier this year,” it added.

"For several months, United World Wrestling has followed with great concern the situation in India where wrestlers are protesting over allegations of abuse and harassment by the President of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). It has taken due note that the WFI President has been put aside at an early stage and is currently not in charge," UWW stated.

The UWW further said that they will hold a meeting with the wrestlers to inquire about their condition and safety and “reconfirm our support for a fair and just resolution of their concerns”.

The International Olympic Committee also issued a statement asking for immediate investigation into the allegations against Wrestling Federation of India president — BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

After United World Wrestling’s statement on Tuesday, IOC has also urged for the safety and well-being of the athletes.

“We urge that the safety and well-being of these athletes is duly considered throughout this process and that this investigation will be speedily concluded,” the International Olympic Committee said in a statement.

“The treatment of the Indian wrestling athletes over the weekend was very disturbing. The IOC insists that the allegations by the wrestlers are followed up on by an unbiased, criminal investigation in line with local law. We understand that a first step towards such a criminal investigation has been made, but more steps have to follow before concrete actions become visible.”

Additionally, the global sporting body, whom all national Olympic committees are affiliated to, asserted that they are in touch with UWW.

The statement added: “The IOC supports UWW as the competent sporting authority to address this issue as it pertains to the governance of the sport of wrestling in India. The IOC will continue to support UWW in all their efforts and in the framework of the IOC Guidelines for International Federations and NOCs for safeguarding athletes from harassment and abuse in sport.”

Meanwhile, Union minister Meenakshi Lekhi on Tuesday was seen fleeing as she was asked to comment on the issue of the protesting wrestlers who went to Haridwar to immerse their medals.

Veteran Indian Men's cricket team spinner Anil Kumble extended support to protesting wrestlers. He said, "dismayed to hear about what transpired on the 28th of May with our wrestlers being manhandled. Anything can be resolved through proper dialogue. Hoping for a resolution at the earliest"

Meanwhile, India's first individual Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra denounced the Delhi Police over Sunday’s events and said that he was “haunted by the horrifying images of fellow Indian wrestlers protesting."

He also suggested that it is the high-time to establish independent safeguarding measures across sporting organisations.

“Last night I was sleepless, haunted by the horrifying images of my fellow Indian wrestlers protesting. It's high time we establish independent safeguarding measures across sporting organisations. We must ensure that if such situations arise, they are dealt with utmost sensitivity and respect. Every athlete deserves a safe and empowering environment," tweeted Abhinav Bindra on Monday.

Other than Abhinav Bindra, several other sports players like footballer Sunil Chhetri, former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan, and Olympian Neeaj Chopra too criticised the action against the wrestlers.

"Why does it have to come down to our wrestlers being dragged around without any consideration? This isn't the way to treat anyone. I really hope this whole situation is assessed the way it should be," said India football captain Chhetri.

Meanwhile, Pathan said a solution to the issue should be found immediately.

"I'm so sad to see the visuals of our Athletes…. Please solve this ASAP," Pathan tweeted.

On Sunday, as the nation was watching the new Parliament building inauguration by PM Modi, wrestlers Phogat, Malik and Bajrang Punia along with other protesters were booked for rioting and obstructing public servant in discharge of duty after a scuffle with security personnel. The Delhi Police cleared off tents, mattresses and every other item from the protest site at the Jantar Mantar.

The wrestlers were brutally evicted from the protest venue and detained by the police along with their supporters. Soon after which the protest site was cleared. The wrestlers are demanding the arrest of Brij Bhushan Singh, who they have accused of sexually exploiting women wrestlers including minors.

Earlier, on April 24, the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports announced that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) will form an ad hoc committee to conduct the elections to the Executive Committee of the Wrestling Federation of India within 45 days of its formation, and to manage day-to-day affairs of the body, including the selection of athletes and making entries for the participation of players in international events. This committee will be functioning for an interim period till a new Executive Committee takes charge, the ministry had said.