India’s top wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, and Bajrang Punia, had planned a protest outside the new parliament during its inauguration in the National Capital on Sunday. The athletes had organised a ‘Mahila Samman Mahapanchayat’ (women’s assembly) as part of their ongoing protest against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. However, as they were trying to march towards the new Parliament from their site of protest at Jantar Mantar, the Delhi Police detained the protesting wrestlers.
Vinesh, Sakshi and Bajrang were shoved, pushed and dragged into buses. The chaos, which unfolded nearly two kilometers from the new parliament, has sparked outrage in many quarters.
Taking to Twitter, 2020 Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Neeraj Chopra also expressed his disappointment after the protesting wrestlers were detained by the police on Sunday.
“There has to be a better way to deal with this,” Chopra tweeted.
There has to be a better way to deal with this. https://t.co/M2gzso4qjX
— Neeraj Chopra (@Neeraj_chopra1) May 28, 2023
Ahead of the wrestlers planned ‘Mahapanchayat’, the security was tightened by the Delhi Police.
The chaos, however, unfolded when the wrestlers, led by Vinesh and her cousin sister Sangeeta Phogat, tried to breach the security barricades.
“All protesters were detained and forcefully boarded in buses by Police,” said Dependra Pathak, Special Commissioner of Police, Law and Order. He added that the athletes were “detained for violating law and order,” and assured that legal action would be taken “after an inquiry in due course of time”.
The police also cleared the protest site at Jantar Mantar, where the wrestlers had protesting since April 24.
The wrestlers had accused Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexually assaulting several female athletes.
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