Wrestlers mull taking protest to Ram Lila ground to make national movement

The wrestlers on Monday decided to make their "agitation global" by approaching Olympic medallists and athletes in other countries and highlight their plight

Press Trust of India New Delhi

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The protesting wrestlers, who have been demanding the arrest of former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, on Tuesday indicated that they may take their agitation to Ram Lila ground to make it a "national movement".

India's top wrestlers, including Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik and Asian Games gold winner Vinesh Phogat, have been protesting at Jantar Mantar here for the last 24 days, demanding the arrest of Brij Bhushan for allegedly sexually harassing seven women grapplers, including a minor.

"We will discuss it (taking the protest to the Ram Lila ground) among ourselves and will take a decision about it soon," said Sakshi, reacting to Bhim Army president Chandrashekhar Azad's suggestion that the agitation should be made a "national movement" by taking it to Ram Lila maidan, a much bigger venue than the current one at Jantar Mantar.

Azad, who had joined the protesting wrestlers at the Jantar Mantar on Monday evening but was asked to leave the venue at night by the authorities, returned to the site on Tuesday with his followers.

He urged the wrestlers to take a call on making their agitation "bigger" by shifting to the Ram Lila ground after May 21, the deadline the khap panchayats have set for the government to take action against Brij Bhushan.

Sakshi, however, did not clarify whether the wrestlers will shift the site of protest to Ram Lila maidan altogether or continue the agitation at Jantar Mantar also.

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On Monday, Vinesh said that the wrestlers felt they were being restricted and pushed into a corner at Jantar Mantar and they would agitate at other places. She had also alleged that the wrestlers were being stalked at the protest site at Jantar Mantar.

While the ad hoc committee formed by the Indian Olympic Association has taken charge of the national federation from WFI officials, the wrestlers have stuck to their demand for the arrest of Brij Bhushan.

Azad, in his speech, said, "Even if you people (wrestlers and their supporters) sit here (at Jantar Mantar) it will not have an effect on the government. Since this is your (wrestlers') agitation, we will support you wholeheartedly and not take a decision on your behalf.

"But you will have to take a decision on May 21 whether you want to sit at the protest site or make it a bigger movement."

The wrestlers, in keeping with their objective of connecting with more people and making them aware of the alleged harassment they had faced at the hands of Brij Bhushan, had taken out a march at Connaught Place on Monday.

On Tuesday, they again decided to hit the streets of Delhi by taking out a procession from Jantar Mantar to Hanuman temple near Connaught Place.

The wrestlers on Monday decided to make their "agitation global" by approaching Olympic medallists and athletes in other countries and highlight their plight.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: May 16 2023 | 8:14 PM IST

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