Wrestlers no longer will be allowed to protest outside Jantar Mantar

Wrestlers no longer will be allowed to protest outside Jantar Mantar

Vinesh Phogat, Shakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, Olympic medalists tried to march outside India’s New Parliament on May 28

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Wrestlers released...

Vinesh Phogat, Shakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, Olympic medalists tried to march to India’s New Parliament on Sunday May 28, 2023 and were arrested for doing so. They were later released at night. The protest began on 23 April, 2023, demanding the arrest of their federation Chief, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, for allegedly sexually harassing female athletes. On Sunday, police filed cases against Ms Malik, Mr Punia, the Phogat sisters and "other organizers of the protest". They have been charged of rioting, assembling unlawfully and of obstructing public servants from doing their duty.

Just a few kms from Jantar Mantar, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's official opening of the nation's new parliament building on Sunday, a fight broke out between the demonstrators and the police. The police claimed that the demonstrators did not adhere to their instructions and that those who attempted to break security barricades were detained.

"They broke the law," Dependra Pathak, Delhi's Special Commissioner of Police, told local media.

"There is no point in going home until we get justice," Mr Punia told reporters on Sunday night after he was released from detention.

Delhi police officials informed the media that if the wrestlers apply for permission to continue their protests, they will be allowed to do so at “a suitable place other than Jantar Mantar.” The reason they gave was that Jantar Mantar is a heritage site in delhi where the wrestling has been protesting for more than a month. 

"All facilities had been provided to the wrestlers at Jantar Mantar for 38 days, but yesterday they violated the law despite all requests made to them," said Suman Nalwa, deputy commissioner of Delhi Police.

According to the wrestlers, they planned to peacefully march towards the new parliament but were prevented from doing so. Ms. Malik, the only female wrestler from India to win an Olympic medal, remarked, "We didn't riot, we didn't damage any public property."

"The whole world is watching how the government is treating its players," Vinesh Phogat tweeted.

"This makes me sad. There has to be a better way to deal with this", Olympic medallist Neeraj Chopra tweeted in reaction to a video which showed police pulling the Phogat sisters as they sat on the road.

"Why does it have to come down to our wrestlers being dragged around without any consideration? This isn't the way to treat anyone. I really hope this whole situation is assessed the way it should be," said Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri. Several opposition leaders, including Congress's Rahul Gandhi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, criticized the police's actions.

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