Top Indian wrestlers detained ahead of march to new parliament, site cleared at Jantar Mantar

Top Indian wrestlers were detained by the police while attempting to march to the new Parliament building during a protest against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Singh over allegations of sexual harassment and intimidation in New Delhi on May 28, 2023.

New Delhi: The Delhi police detained Indian wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, and Bajrang Punia on Sunday for allegedly violating the law and order after they tried to enter the new Parliament building for a women’s “Mahapanchayat”.

The police officials started cleaning up the protest site by taking away the wrestlers’ belongings like cots, mattresses, cooler fans and the tarpaulin ceiling as soon as the wrestlers were forced into buses and sent to an unidentified location.

On April 23, the champion wrestlers began their protest against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, calling for his detention as they allege sexual harassment by him. Wrestlers and police officials shoved and pushed one another as Vinesh Phogat and her cousin sister Sangeeta Phogat attempted to scale the barriers at Jantar Mantar.

Sangeeta clutched to her cousin sister while lying on the road while Vinesh put up a valiant fight to prevent her imprisonment. The conflict lasted for a few dramatic minutes. They were dragged and carried onto buses by police officers along with many other wrestlers and their supporters.

“They have been detained for violating law and order. We will take legal action after inquiry in due course of time,” PTI quoted Dependra Pathak, Special CP, Law and Order, as saying.

After protesting wrestlers on Sunday called for a “Mahila Samman Mahapanchayat” outside the new Parliament Building, the Delhi Police increased security at Jantar Mantar. Modi gave the new structure its official opening this morning.

In the Lutyens’ Delhi, thousands of police personnel were on duty, and there were numerous tiers of barricades in place. The wrestlers had vowed to carry out their “Mahapanchayat” at all costs while conducting a sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar, which is roughly two kilometres from the Parliament complex.

While the wrestlers should not engage in any “anti-national activity,” the police had made it plain in the morning that no protesters would be permitted to advance near Parliament because they had not received clearance for “Mahapanchat.”

Olympic medalists Bajranj Punia and Sakshi, as well as Asian Games gold medalist Vinesh, are among the wrestlers who have been calling for the arrest of outgoing WFI President, who they claim has harassed several female grapplers.

The wrestlers had stated that they will continue with their peaceful march and the Mahapanchayat regardless of the use of force by the police.

They were being transported towards the Tikri border, according to the live location supplied by one of the wrestlers’ supporters from the moving bus.

In another video posted by the wrestlers, Jiternder Kinha and Sakshi’s husband Satyawart Kadian can be heard yelling the slogan “Inqalab Jindabad” alongside other people as they are being taken away by police.

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