Morphed photo of ‘smiling wrestlers’ viral? Bajrang Punia shares original with a warning

May 28, 2023 09:30 PM IST

Chaotic scenes were witnessed at the dharna site at Jantar Mantar, barely three kilometres from where the new Parliament building was inaugurated by PM Modi.

Star Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia on Sunday warned against posting a morphed photograph of fellow protesting grapplers Vinesh Phogat and Sangeeta Phogat that shows them smiling while detained by the police. Hitting out at ‘IT cell’ for spreading the morphed picture, Punia threatened to file a complaint against those found posting the photograph on social media.

A viral image of protesting wrestlers.(Twitter)
A viral image of protesting wrestlers.(Twitter)

Several wrestlers and their supporters were detained by Delhi Police today as they tried to march towards the new Parliament building demanding the arrest of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for allegedly sexually harassing women grapplers, including a minor. The wrestlers had called for a women 'Mahapanchayat' on Sunday for which they did not have permission.

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The police personnel dragged the protesters away and pushed them into buses to take them to unknown locations.

Amid criticism of the Delhi Police, which is under the control of the Union home ministry, a photograph of smiling Phogat sisters inside a bus started doing rounds on social media, with users alluding that they were not serious about their protest.

Bajrang posted two photos – one morphed and the other real – on Twitter. In the original photograph, the Phogat sisters and other detained wrestlers are wearing serious expressions while smiling in the altered photograph.

"IT cell people are spreading this fake picture. We make it clear that a complaint will be filed against whoever posts this fake picture," Bajrang Punia tweeted.

While women detainees were released later in the evening, opposition parties slammed the central government over the alleged "manhandling" of wrestlers. Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said that the "arrogant king is crushing the voice of the people" on the streets as the "coronation" is over and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said it is "shameful our champions are treated in this manner".

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