Police clear wrestlers' protest site, Oppn leaders say ‘country is watching’
The wrestlers have been demanding action again their federation chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has denied sexual harassment allegations.
Delhi Police on Sunday removed tents and other installations set up by protesting wrestlers at Jantar Mantar after they were detained for allegedly breaching the security cordon and not following the directions issued by the law enforcement agency. The wrestlers, including two Olympic medallists, were detained while trying to move towards the new Parliament building for a planned women's 'Mahapanchayat'.
Immediately after the wrestlers were taken to different unknown locations, the police officers began clearing the protest site by removing the cots, mattresses, coolers, fans and the tarpaulin ceiling along with other belongings of the wrestlers.
The police action drew strong condemnation from the opposition leaders, with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee demanding the immediate release of the protesters.
“Strongly condemn the way Delhi Police manhandled Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and other wrestlers. It’s shameful our champions are treated in this manner. Democracy lies in tolerance but autocratic forces thrive on intolerance and quelling of dissent. I demand they be immediately released by police. I stand by our wrestlers,” the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo tweeted.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “Such behaviour towards our sportspersons who brought glory to the country is extremely wrong and condemnable.”
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hit out at the ruling BJP saying their “arrogance has increased so much that the government is mercilessly trampling the voices of our women players under their boots.”
“This is totally wrong. The whole country is watching the arrogance of the government and this injustice.”
The aggrieved wrestlers have been demanding the removal of their federation chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh from the position and his arrest in connection with the sexual harassment allegations.
Barely a mile away from the protest site, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new Parliament even as major opposition parties boycotted the event in a rare show of unity. The opposition parties had primarily taken exception to the prime minister doing the honours instead of President Droupadi Murmu.