Wrestlers’ protest nears a month, ‘big call’ by khap mahapanchayat today: Top points
A group of wrestlers is protesting at Delhi's Jantar Mantar against wrestling body chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over sexual harassment allegations.
The top wrestlers of the country have been protesting almost for a month now at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi seeking action in the sexual harassment charges against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. As their 15-day ultimatum to arrest the wrestling body chief ends Sunday, their warning about ‘a big decision’ as their next course of action in the matter could be revealed today.
The wrestlers who have been staging the protest since April 23 set May 21 as a deadline for their next move. They said they will go forward with the decision taken by a 'mahapanchayat' in Mehem Chaubisi (a cluster of 24 villages) khap in Haryana's Rohtak district, where community leaders, farmers’ organisations are expected to participate. "The decision our elders take (on Sunday) could be a big one, one that might not be in the interest of the country. It could hurt the nation," said Asian Games gold medalist Vinesh Phogat at a press conference at Jantar Mantar.
Top points on recent developments in the protest:
1) On Saturday, the wrestlers leading the agitation, Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia attempted to attend an IPL game at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, in a bid to seek support for their protests. However, as per their claims, they were denied entry by the Delhi police. “...We had no protest signs, posters or banners but were still turned back. We want Dhoni to support us in this battle for justice. No active cricketer has spoken up yet," Punia said. The trio were wearing t-shirts with the slogan ‘I Support Wrestlers’ printed on them.
2) Delhi Police denied any wrestler with a valid ticket was barred entry. As per news agency PTI, a senior official said that 10-12 wrestlers had come to watch the match but only those who did not have tickets were turned back.
3) On Tuesday, as the protest marks a month, the wrestlers have planned a candlelight march to India Gate. On Thursday, they visited Rajghat to pay their respect to Mahatma Gandhi and urged the citizens to join their march. Their protest began for the second time in April (they had previously organised a three-day sit-in at Jantar Mantar), demanding Singh’s arrest and FIR in the matter. The FIRs were registered after they approached the Supreme Court which directed the Delhi police after which two FIRs were filed against Singh. He faces accusations of sexually harassing seven female wrestlers, including a minor.
4) As per the police, Singh has been questioned twice in the investigation. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) has also been formed to probe the matter. The next court hearing is scheduled on May 27.
5) In Guwahati, a sexual harassment complaint was lodged Thursday against Mrinal Basumatary, the in-charge and swimming coach of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Training Centre in Solalgaon. The complaint was lodged owing to the “gravity of the matter” as most of the athletes are minor girls, PTI quoted a SAI statement as saying.