Protesting wrestlers detained for violation of law and order, police clears protest site at Jantar Mantar : The Tribune India

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Protesting wrestlers detained for violation of law and order, police clears protest site at Jantar Mantar

Protesters were trying to move towards the new Parliament building for a planned women's 'Mahapanchayat

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 28

In what could bring about a forceful end to the wrestlers' protest at Jantar Mantar, the Delhi police on Sunday detained Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia for violation of law and order after they breached the security cordon while trying to move towards the new Parliament building for a planned women's 'Mahapanchayat'.

Immediately after the wrestlers were pushed into buses and taken to different 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.

It seems the police will not allow the wrestlers back to the protest site though no official statement has been made in this regard.

The police had warned the wrestlers not to move towards Parliament but they went ahead, leading to the scuffle.

The champion wrestlers had resumed their agitation against former Wresting Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on April 23, demanding his arrest for alleged sexual harassment of several women grapplers, including a minor.

Chaotic scenes were witnessed at Jantar Mantar as wrestlers and police officers shoved and pushed each other when Vinesh Phogat, her cousin sister Sangeeta Phogat and Sakshi tried to breach the barricades.

Vinesh provided a strong resistance against her detention and Sangeeta clung on to her cousin sister while lying on the road as the struggle continued for a few dramatic minutes.

The police officials dragged and lifted them into buses along with several other wresters and their supporters.

"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.

"We need to assess the entire situation. As you have seen the barricades have been broken and they moved ahead despite request and warning. So that is why we have removed them from here.

"The bottom line is, peace and tranquility will be maintained. We will ensure professional steps to see to it that nothing goes wrong," he added.

Earlier in the day, Pathak urged the wrestlers to not indulge in anti-national activities on the "historic day" of inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Today is the inauguration of our new Parliament. It is an important day for our country and proud moment. So any type of agitation or march on this day is anti-national. No way Delhi Policy can afford any lapse. We respect and love our athletes but can't allow any untoward incident," he said.

The protesting wrestlers and their supporters have been taken to different locations in the national capital. 

While Bajrang has been detained at a police station near Mayur Vihar, Sakshi is in Burari. Vinesh and Sangeeta were taken to Kalkaji.

The Delhi Police had beefed up security at Jantar Mantar following protesting wrestlers' call for a 'Mahila Samman Mahapanchayat' before the new Parliament Building on Sunday.

A teary-eyed Vinesh, who showed maximum resistance, later said from a bus that they are being punished for demanding justice.

"The accused is roaming free. He is being given shelter by the government and athletes who won medals for the country are now being put in jail for demanding justice for country's daughters," Vinesh said.

"Welcome to the new country," she quipped from the bus window.

Bajrang feels grave injustice was being meted out to them for demanding justice.

"The accused has such audacity that he is talking about changing the POCSO Act and you are doing nothing against him and here are athletes who are demanding justice with folded hands and you are ill-treating them," he said.

"Over 2000 of our supporters were detained. Everywhere dictatorship is going on."  Later, he tweeted, "Does any government treat the champions of the country like this? What crime have we committed?"  Sakshi also took to twitter to vent out her anger against the government and the Delhi Police. 

"This is how our champions are being treated. The world is watching us!  Sexual abuser goon Brij Bhushan is sitting in the Parliament today and we are being dragged on the road. Sad day for Indian sports," the Olympic medallist wrote. 

"Was it a crime to bring medals for the country? if yes, then hang us," she added. 

Ironically, both Bajrang and Vinesh were detained just metres away from Brij Bhushan's official residence at 21, Ashoka Road.

Thousands of police personnel were deployed and multiple layers of barricades were in place in the Lutyens' Delhi. The wrestlers, staging a sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar which is about two kilometres from the Parliament building, had said they will go ahead with their 'Mahapanchayat' at any cost.

The agitating wrestlers, including the likes of Olympic medallists Bajranj, Sakshi and Asian Games gold winner Vinesh have been demanding the arrest of the outgoing WFI President, who they have accused of sexually harassing several women grapplers.

The wrestlers had said that use of force by police will not deter them from going ahead with their peaceful march and the Mahapanchayat.

In a video shared by the wrestlers, Sakshi's husband Satyawart Kadian and Jiternder Kinha were seen shouting slogan 'Inqalab Jindabad' from inside the bus as the police vehicle whisked them away. 

Police clearing protest site at Jantar Mantar: Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan

Wrestler Sangeeta Phogat jumps police barricades at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Sunday. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

Tribune photo

Tribune photo

11:56 28 May
Punia, Punia detained

Wrestlers Sakshi Malik and Satyawart Kadian and few others detained and put in a bus. Bajrang Punia is also being detained.

11:48 28 May
Wrestler breach barricades, reached BJP MP Brij Bhushan’s house in Delhi

Wrestlers breach barricades at Jantar Mantar and have reached BJP MP Brij Bhushan’s house in Delhi.

Sangeeta Phogat and Vinesh were the first to jump through barricades. Delhi police have asked for more reinforcements.


11:41 28 May
Wrestlers break through barricading at Jantar Mantar

11:17 28 May
Women leader Sonia Duhan arrested

Woman leader Sonia Duhan arrested on Rohtak-Delhi Highway near Sampla town when she was leading a foot march of a women group to Delhi. Also, Khap leaders and farmer activists were detained in Hisar.

11:15 28 May
Women activist detained in Hisar

11:13 28 May
Security at Singhu Border

Security has been tightened at Singhu Border by Delhi police and Sonepat police.

Special security arrangements have been made at Sonepat railway station.

Some farmer leaders, including SKM member Abhimanyu Kuhar and his associates have been detained by the police.

10:28 28 May
Ambala: Punjab activists outside Manji Sahib gurdwara

Women mahapanchayat: Punjab activists outside Manji Sahib Gurdwara in Ambala. The activists claimed that they wanted to attend the mahapanchayat but were "forcefully" stopped at the Manji Sahib gurdwara in Ambala.

10:24 28 May
Security up at Tikri Border

Delhi police personnel keep a tab on vehicles movement at Tikri Border in view of Women Panchayat

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#BJP #Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh #Sangeeta Phogat #Vinesh Phogat

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