Top wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, and Bajrang Punia who have been protesting at Jantar Mantar for over a month against Wrestling Federation of India Chief (WFI) Brij Bhushan Singh, were detained by Delhi police today as they tried to march towards the new parliament building.
Delhi Police said that protesting wrestlers breached the security cordon while trying to move towards the new Parliament building, where a women's Mahapanchayat was planned for the day.
#WATCH | Delhi: Security personnel stop & detain protesting wrestlers as they try to march towards the new Parliament from their site of protest at Jantar Mantar.— ANI (@ANI) May 28, 2023
Wrestlers are trying to march towards the new Parliament as they want to hold a women's Maha Panchayat in front of… pic.twitter.com/3vfTNi0rXl
In chaotic scenes witnessed at the Jantar Mantar, all protesters were detained and forcefully boarded in buses by police. "They have been detained for violating law and order. We will take legal action after inquiry in due course of time," said Dependra Pathak, Special CP, Law and Order.
The police officials were also seen clearing the protest site, where the wrestlers had resumed their agitation against the WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on April 23.
Wrestler Sakshi Malik said that they were peacefully protesting and did not break any barricades.
VIDEO | “We were marching peacefully but they forcefully dragged and detained us,” says wrestler Sakshi Malik after being detained by police. pic.twitter.com/dUIsQQBaFO— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) May 28, 2023
Farmers stage sit-in
Scores of farmers led by BKU leader Rakesh Tikait too were on Sunday stopped by the Delhi Police at the Ghazipur border as they tried to enter the national capital to take part in the protest called by agitating wrestlers outside the new Parliament building.
"All others (farmers) have been stopped (by the police). We will sit here for now and decide what to do next," Tikait, who had spearheaded the anti-farm law protests, said after being stopped by the police at the heavily fortified Ghazipur border.
Police rounded up some farmers on GT Road near Gurudwara Manji Sahib in Ambala on Sunday when they insisted on marching towards Delhi. A spokesperson of BKU (Charuni) Sukhwinder Singh alleged that police detained some of the farmers late on Saturday night.
VIDEO | Scuffle between farmer leaders and police at Ghazipur border. Delhi's borders have been barricaded in view of farmers and women coming to the national capital to attend the 'Mahila Samman Mahapanchayat' called by protesting wrestlers. pic.twitter.com/UnL1pxu8TB— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) May 28, 2023
Around 200 farmers, including women activists, have been camping in Gurudwara Manji Sahib in Ambala since Saturday night which led to heavy deployment of police force outside the Gurudwara road.
Ambala's Superintendent of Police Jashandeep Singh said no permission has been given to hold the "Mahila Maha Panchayat" in Delhi. The police officer reached the gurudwara and asked the farmers not to lake the law in their hands and disperse.
JNU students' claims
Moreover, a section of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students on Sunday alleged that the varsity authorities "prevented" them from taking part in the 'Mahila Maha Panchayat' by ramping up security on campus.
There was heavy police deployment on the campus, the students added. No immediate response was available from the police or the university. The All India Students' Association (AISA) claimed that an "undeclared Section 144" has been imposed on the campus.
"Today, the Mahila Panchayat was announced. Heavy police deployment has been made inside and outside Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to prevent students from participating in it. The government has deployed its entire machinery to protect sexual violence accused," said AISA activist Madhurima Kundu said.
Condemning the brutal police attack and detention of wrestling marching towards Parliament for the Mahila Panchayat, hundreds of people, including members of AISA, AIPWA and RYA have blocked the road at Janpath. Struggle continues till justice is delivered!— AISA (@AISA_tweets) May 28, 2023
Meanwhile, wrestling champion Vinesh Phogat, who has been at the forefront of the massive wrestlers’ protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, on Sunday said democracy was “being murdered openly at Jantar Mantar” while the prime minister inaugurates the new Parliament building.
In a video message on Twitter, the Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medalist accused the Centre of a “false pretence” at a time when people are dying in the country and scores of women wrestlers are sitting in protest against sexual harassment for more than a month.
The agitating wrestlers, led by Olympic medalists Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Commonwealth and Asian Games winner Vinesh Phogat have demanded the arrest of Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Singh who, they alleged, sexually harassed several women grapplers.
(With inputs from PTI)