New Delhi, May 28
The Delhi Police detained wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and their supporters while they were trying to move towards the new Parliament building for holding a ‘Mahila Samman Mahapanchayat’ on Sunday.
The incident occurred when the Parliament building was being inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Barely half an hour after the wrestlers’ detention, the police removed the tents, tarpaulin and other equipment from the protest site.
The police have also lodged an FIR against wrestlers and their supporters under Sections 147 (rioting), 149, 186, 188, 332 and 353, IPC, and Section 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act at the Barakhamba police station.
While Vinesh, Sakshi, Sangeeta Phogat, Bajrang and others were released in the evening, Opposition parties slammed the Centre over the alleged “manhandling” of wrestlers. Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said the “arrogant king is crushing the voice of the people” on the streets as the “coronation” is over and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
said it was “shameful our champions are treated in this manner”.
Wrestlers, through their social media accounts, have announced that they would return to the protest site. “Our protest is not over. We will return to Jantar Mantar to start our Satyagraha....There will be Satyagraha of women wrestlers and not dictatorship,” tweeted Sakshi.
Bajrang said the police action was to protect Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, against whom seven women wrestlers have lodged a sexual harassment complaint.
“All this is being done to protect a goon. Have goons become more important than the daughters in our country?” alleged Punia while commenting on a picture showing Sakshi and others being detained.
The police had made it clear in the morning that the wrestlers and their supporters would not be allowed near Parliament and wanted them to stay at the Jantar Mantar protest site. The wrestlers, along with the supporters, went ahead with their march at 11.30 am. The police and Rapid Action Force stopped them before the first barricade.
A few of the wrestlers, including Vinesh and her cousin Sangeeta and some supporters, jumped through the barricades that started a scuffle with the police as they tried to stop the crowd from marching towards the new Parliament building.
Sakshi and her husband Satyawart were the first ones to be detained. However, they jumped through the window of the bus and tried to go back to the protest site to prevent the authorities from dismantling it.
“We were peaceful, but the police stopped us from marching. I cannot understand what wrong we have done, just look at the cuts and scratches on my arms,” said Sakshi.
Special Commissioner (Law & Order) Deependra Pathak said the wrestlers were detained because they broke the barricades. PTI inputs
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