Wrestlers' Protest: Be not seen, be not heard
As the PM inaugurated the 'temple of democracy', protesting citizens were swept out of sight and silenced outside the parliament building
A scuffle broke out this afternoon between the protesting wrestlers and the police as they tried to march towards the new parliament building from their protest site at Jantar Mantar. The protesting wrestlers have been detained. The wrestlers had earlier called for a mahila mahapanchayat (women's assembly) in front of the new parliament house, which was inaugurated on Sunday, 28 May.
One of the foremost voices among the sportspersons, Sakshi Malik said that the protesting wrestlers would ensure they remain peaceful and not indulge in any kind of violence. The wrestlers did then breach barricades and reach BJP MP Brij Bhushan’s house, which is near the protest site, in Delhi. Sangeeta Phogat and Vinesh Phogat, two of the other key figures at the forefront of the protest, were the first to jump over the barricades.
The Delhi Police then asked for reinforcements.
The Police on Sunday had said that “unsocial elements” would not be allowed to enter the national capital to ensure the smooth conduct of the inauguration ceremony of the new parliament building.
“We will not allow anything to disrupt the inauguration of the new parliament building. The entire Delhi Police is here to make sure the inauguration ceremony is conducted smoothly,” said Deepender Pathak, Delhi Police special CP.
The Delhi Police had sought permission to convert MCD School Kanjhawala into a temporary jail in view of the wrestlers' mahapanchayat. However Mayor Shelly Oberoi issued an order refusing permission to convert the school into a jail.
In response to the anticipated participation of khap panchayat leaders and farmers in the wrestlers' march, the Delhi Police erected barricades near the ITO road, Tikri border and Singhu border areas. Increased security measures were implemented in the vicinity of the Ghazipur border area as khap panchayat leaders and farmers planned to join the wrestlers' march.
Earlier, Vinesh Phogat alleged that supporters of the protesting wrestlers were detained ahead of the Mahila Samman Mahapanchayat (women's assembly for their dignity). In a video posted on her official Twitter account, she said that “democracy is being murdered openly”. She also said that the nation will remember how “women who were demanding their rights were suppressed while the new parliament was being inaugurated”.
Police detained several farmers' leaders in Haryana, including BKU (Bharatiya Kisan Union) Haryana chief Gurnam Singh Charuni, in their houses. They were supposed to march in support of the protesting wrestlers. Some khap leaders, including Hardeep Ahlawat and Mahender Nandal, have been detained by local police, say sources.
Farm activists from Punjab — who had reached Manji Sahib Gurudwara in Ambala for an overnight stay ahead of the march to the capital — continued to wait at the gurudwara for further directions. Ahead of the 'Mahila Samman Mahapanchayat' called by the protesting wrestlers, security was heightened at the Delhi–Ghaziabad and Tikri borders.
Police also detained a few leaders of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), including Shamsher Numberdar, Om Prakash, Kavita Arya and Vishnu, in various parts of Haryana, said Sumit Singh, AIKS state general secretary.
The women’s mahapanchayat was called in support of wrestlers who have been protesting against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, accusing him of sexual harassment. Seven women wrestlers have filed a police complaint against him.