Wrestlers’ Protest: Delhi Police on alert, barricades up on roads leading to Jantar Mantar

  • | Thursday | 4th May, 2023

Heavy security was deployed at the Jantar Mantar site here in the national capital on Thursday after a ruckus broke out late last night between protesting wrestlers and some police personnel. Delhi Police said that DCPs of all districts in Delhi have been asked to be on alert in their districts, especially in the border areas. They said that Police have received inputs that a large number of people can reach Jantar Mantar where the wrestlers are protesting. Special care is to be taken on roads which go towards Central Delhi, barricades have been put up at several places, Delhi Police said. The Supreme Court is set to hear the plea of seven women wrestlers against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh in a sexual assault case. The protestors say they will not leave the protest site until Singh, who is also a BJP MP, is arrested. Heavy security was seen deployed at the protest site today after wrestlers alleged they were manhandled and abused by police personnel at the site on Wednesday. The grapplers also alleged that some policemen were drunk and pushed and abused women protestors. In their response, the Delhi Police said that supporters of the protesting grapplers turned aggressive after they were prevented from bringing in folding beds to the site, which led to a chaos. Following Wednesday’s rain the wrestlers wanted to bring in mattresses to sleep. “Folding beds were brought to the protest site in Jantar Mantar. Since there was no permission, we didn’t allow it, so some of the supporters of the protesting wrestlers tried to take out the beds from the truck and this led to an altercation,” Deputy Commissioner of Police, Pranav Tayal said. DCP Tayal said that Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Somnath Bharti who came to the protest site along with folding beds without permission was detained along with two others after a minor altercation took place. Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal arrived at Jantar Mantar to meet wrestlers this morning. “I have come to meet the girls (wrestlers) again since it is my duty. Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik told us they were being tortured, and there were police officers who were drunk and misbehaved with them. I am concerned for their safety. Why is Delhi Police protecting Brij Bhushan? Why is Delhi Police not arresting him?” Maliwal told mediapersons. Maliwal on her Twitter account had claimed that she was not allowed to meet with the protesting grapplers last night. Congress leader Deepender Singh Hooda also posted on his Twitter handle that he was detained by the Delhi Police at Jantar Mantar. In a tweet in Hindi, Hooda said that he was taken to the Vasant Vihar Police Station yesterday. In a tweet today, the Delhi Police said that Maliwal was briefly stopped at the barricade yesterday and immediately let go. “Hon’ble Chairperson DCW was stopped at the barricade by an officer and let go immediately. She is presently inside at the protest site. There is no restriction on individual entry to Jantar Mantar,” DCP New Delhi tweeted. DCP Tayal had yesterday in response to the wrestlers claims said that the wrestlers have been asked to file a complaint and a medical check-up of the policeman would be conducted on whom “drunk” allegations were raised. “We have told the wrestlers to give complaint on their grievances and will take appropriate action…medical check-up of the policeman on whom they’ve raised allegations, being conducted…,” the DCP said. Wrestlers have alleged that drunk Delhi Police personnel manhandled them when they wanted to bring in mattresses to sleep at night after daylong rain. “We were bringing the beds since we were facing trouble sleeping due to rain. Sakshi is crying. This is the respect they are giving to our daughters, abusing them,” Olympic medalist Bajrang Punia had told ANI yesterday. World Championships and Commonwealth Games medalist Vinesh Phogat also accused the policemen of being drunk, pushing, and abusing women protestors. “He was drunk. He hit someone on his head. He abused me and pushed several women protestors,” claimed Vinesh. Ace wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshee Mallikh and other top grapplers have been protesting against sexual harassment charges against the WFI chief and they are demanding the arrest of Brij Bhushan. Earlier on Wedneday, the Indian Olympic Association president PT Usha visited the wrestlers sitting on a protest for the last 12 days. On April 30, Delhi Police registered two FIRs against WFI president Singh over allegations of sexual harassment and exploitation of female wrestlers by him.

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