Home india-news Wrestlers get support from Opposition politicians | Latest News India

Wrestlers get support from Opposition politicians | Latest News India

Wrestlers get support from Opposition politicians | Latest News India


Delhi Police on Saturday provided protesting wrestlers the copy of an FIR filed against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh the previous day over allegations of sexual harassment by seven female wrestlers. A second FIR registered under sections of the Pocso Act would only be shared with the complainant in the case as she is a minor, police officers said.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal with wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Sangita Phogat at Jantar Mantar on Saturday. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal with wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Sangita Phogat at Jantar Mantar on Saturday. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

“We have a copy of the FIR and our legal team is studying it,” said former Greco-Roman national champion Somveer Rathee after the wrestlers went to the Connaught Place police station to collect a copy of the FIR.

Political support poured in for the wrestlers, with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra among politicians visiting Jantar Mantar to express solidarity on Saturday.

Representatives of various regional and national political parties, farmers’ unions, and community leaders have been coming to the protest through the week.

Also Read| Wrestlers protest: Brij Bhushan says he is innocent, calls stir a motivated campaign

A six-time member of Parliament from UP’s Kaiserganj constituency, Singh “stepped aside” from WFI in January and is ineligible for re-election as he has already completed the maximum 12-year term in accordance with the Sports Code. On Saturday, the 66-year-old said he will not resign as that would mean he has accepted the allegations.

Resigning as WFI president is not a big deal for me, but I will not resign as a criminal. If I resign, it would mean that I have accepted their allegations. I won’t resign till the charges against me aren’t proved,” Singh told reporters at his residence in Bishnoharpur, about 40km from Gonda city.

“I am completely innocent and have full faith in the Supreme Court and Delhi Police. I am ready to face any kind of investigation,” he said.

Also Read: Congress leader urges Amitabh Bachchan to support wrestlers’ protest: ‘Your T4633 could’

The federation’s elections, scheduled for May 7, were declared null and void by the sports ministry earlier this week. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA), following the ministry’s mandate, formed an ad-hoc panel on Thursday that is tasked with conducting WFI elections within 45 days.

Congress leaders Bhupinder Hooda, Deepender Hooda, and Udit Raj visited Jantar Mantar earlier this week to express solidarity with the protestors.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal arrived at the venue on Saturday evening and demanded that those involved in crimes against women “should be hanged”.

“Why are they (wrestlers) protesting? It is because one of the big leaders of their party (referring to the BJP) mistreated the girls. If any woman of our country is ill-treated, that person should immediately be caught and the harshest punishment be given. He should be hanged,” Kejriwal said.

“These women are not ordinary women,” he said, referring to Malik, Vinesh, and Sangeeta Phogat. “These women have brought glory to the country. They had to go on a sit-in to get an FIR lodged. Why?”

Kejriwal exhorted people to take a day’s leave and congregate at Jantar Mantar in solidarity with the wrestlers. “I want to request the people of this country to take a day’s leave from your work and come here to show your support for our wrestlers,” he said.

Beijing Olympics bronze medal-winning boxer and Congress member Vijender Singh also visited the wrestlers during the day.

BJP member and former wrestler Babita Phogat tweeted about politicians trying to hijack the protest.

“Sportspersons are capable to fight their own battles. Their stage should not be used to claim brownie political points,” Phogat, who was part of the six-member oversight committee formed by the sports ministry to probe the wrestlers’ allegations, wrote.

Vinesh Phogat, one of the protesting wrestlers, urged Babita not to weaken the protest if she did not intend to strengthen it.

Priyanka Gandhi visited Jantar Mantar on Saturday morning and interacted with the wrestlers, and accused the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP)-led central government of protecting Singh.

“When these girls get medals, everyone tweets, says they are our country’s pride but now when they are sitting on the road and seeking to be heard, no one is ready to listen to them,” Gandhi said.

“I don’t have any expectations from the prime minister,” she said. “If he was concerned about these wrestlers, he would have at least called them and spoken to them. He had called them for tea when they won medals. So, call them, talk to them, they are our daughters.”


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