Delhi Police foils wrestlers' march to new Parliament, many detained
Delhi's Jantar Mantar witnessed mayhem on Sunday as the Delhi Police detained protesting wrestlers, thwarting their march toward the new Parliament building. Wrestlers have been camping there for over a month in protest against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is accused of sexual harassment. The "peaceful march" was part of their Mahila Samman Mahapanchayat at the new Parliament.
Why does this story matter?
The wrestlers' planned the march coinciding with the inauguration of the new Parliament building by PM Narendra Modi. This came after their 15-day deadline for Singh's arrest over sexual harassment charges ended last Sunday. On April 21, seven female wrestlers, including a minor, filed a police complaint against the chief of WFI—also a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP—alleging intimidation and sexual harassment by Singh.
Police detain wrestlers 2km away from new Parliament
The Indian Express reported top wrestlers like Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, and Bajrang Punia, as well as other protesters, were detained by the Delhi Police after they attempted to break through barricades to march toward the new Parliament. The wrestlers planned a Mahila Samman Mahapanchayat at the complex, which Modi inaugurated on Sunday. However, cops beefed up the security, deploying additional personnel and barricades.
Watch: Video of chaos at Jantar Mantar shared on Twitter
Wrestlers detained for violating law and order: Police
The police detained wrestlers and then also cleared their protest site at Janta Mantar, which had been occupied since they started their protest against Singh on April 23, NDTV reported. Special Commissioner of Police (Law & Order) Dependra Pathak said the athletes were "detained for violating law and order" and that "after an inquiry in due course of time," legal action will be taken.
Police barred farmers from entering Delhi amid heightened security
In anticipation of the wrestlers' protest march and Mahila Samman Mahapanchayat, security was tightened at Delhi's borders on Sunday morning. The Delhi Police also barred farmers who made it to the Ghazipur border from entering Delhi. "Today, our protest will end by 3pm. But, the protest will continue till our daughters get justice and the culprit Brij Bhushan is arrested," said a farmer leader.
Mayor denies permission to set up 'temporary jail' for wrestlers
Reportedly, Delhi Mayor Shelly Oberoi issued an order denying permission for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) School, Kanjhawala, to be converted into a "temporary prison," as requested by the police. The police sought permission, citing Mahila Samman Mahapanchayat by wrestlers and their supporters. On Saturday night, MCD authorities allegedly said they granted the police authority to use the school as a "temporary jail."
WFI chief's reaction to 'mahapanchayat' near new Parliament
On Saturday, Singh urged the agitating wrestlers not to protest near the new Parliament building on Sunday. "The country is getting a new Parliament building, and it is a matter of pride," the WFI chief stated. "I urge these wrestlers that I am ready, ready for the narco test, ready for everything," The Times of India quoted Singh as saying.
Know about wrestlers' ongoing protest against WFI chief
The wrestlers resumed their agitation in April after three months of inaction. They accused the Centre of delaying the release of the report by the committee formed to probe the allegations against Singh. They also highlighted how the WFI resumed operations despite the ongoing probe. Earlier, the Delhi Police filed two FIRs on April 28 against Singh after being rapped by the Supreme Court.Share this timeline