Wednesday, Oct 04, 2023

Protesting Wrestlers Wear Black Bands As A Mark Of Protest, Call It A 'Black Day'

Protesting Wrestlers Wear Black Bands As A Mark Of Protest, Call It A 'Black Day'

The protesting wrestlers and their supporters on Thursday wore black bands and called it a black day as their agitation entered the 18th day.

Wrestlers protest at Jantar Mantar
Wrestlers wear black bands during their ongoing protest against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. PTI

Calling it a "black day", the protesting grapplers and their supporters on Thursday wore black bands with Bajrang Punia, one of the prominent faces of the sit-in, alleging that their phone numbers are being tracked. (More Wrestling News)

The protest against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, accused of sexual harassment and intimidation by the grapplers, entered the 18th day.

Top Indian grapplers Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang, Sakshi Malik, Satyawart Kaidyan and Jitender Kinha all tied black bands on their forehead while a few supporters sported them on their arms as a mark of protest against what they see as lack of action against Brij Bhushan.

The wrestlers have been demanding the arrest of Brij Bhushan, who they have accused of sexual exploitation of several women grapplers including a minor.

The Delhi Police has filed two FIRs, including one under section 10 of POCSO act against the BJP MP, who has denied all the charges.

"We are observing a black day today in protest against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. We are confident of our victory as the entire nation is with us in our fight," Bajrang said. 

"Day by day our protest is gaining momentum and we will continue to fight till we get justice.

"Nowadays our phone numbers are being tracked, we are being treated in a manner where it seems as if we have committed a crime. Whoever is in our contact is being tracked, I am telling you," Bajrang told reporters. 

The World Championship and Olympic medallist was critical of athlete Seema Antil, who said their protest has had a negative impact on the sport with camps and trails not taking place. 

"I don't understand that she is saying that we are causing damage to the sport rather than Brij Bhushan. It's very strange that she doesn't understand this despite being a sportsperson. 

"I don't think she should have said what she said. We respect her. she is a good athlete, but she should think before coming out with a statement," Bajrang said. 

A large delegation of Bharat Kishan Union Ekta (Azad), mostly comprising women from Punjab arrived at the Jantar Mantar here on Thursday to show their solidarity towards the protesting wrestlers.

Speaking of the possibility of financial bungling, he asked the WFI, "Which money have you spent, where has Tata's money gone. The Tatas have been giving you money for the last five years, where is that money? 

"We have also requested Ratan Tata ji to find this out, whether his money is reaching the right place," the ace wrestler added. 

On the brighter side, Bajrang welcomed the move to hold the women's camp in Patiala. 

"We welcome the shifting of the women's camp to Patiala. Wherever athletes have access to all the facilities set up camp there rather than having it in a place where they are being exploited and mistreated." 

Besides members of Mazdood Adhikar Sangathan, Sonipat and a small delegation of youth students from Bhagat Singh Youth Union, Maharashtra also came in support of the wrestlers on Thursday. 

Bajrang continued, "See nothing is bigger than the judiciary. We have full faith in the court, our fight is for the truth. I don't think India has seen something like this in the past.

"We get strength when we see the support we are getting from all corners from of the country. 

"This was the time to prepare for the Asian Games and Olympics, so it's very sad and unfortunate. It's a huge loss for sports that we have been protesting for the past 19 days."


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