Delhi Police detain wrestlers Phogat, Malik, and Punia to foil Parliament march
Protesting Indian wrestlers at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, including Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, and Bajrang Punia, were detained by Delhi Police as they attempted to march towards the new Parliament building, as reported by NDTV.
The athletes had organized a ‘Mahila Samman Mahapanchayat’ (a large assembly to honor women) as part of their ongoing protest against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the chief of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).
Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is also a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has been accused by wrestlers of sexually harassing several female athletes. These allegations have sparked a nationwide controversy, leading to widespread protests demanding his arrest.
Delhi Police had increased security measures at Jantar Mantar, the designated protest site located near the parliament building, in anticipation of the planned ‘Mahapanchayat’. However, the wrestlers were determined to proceed with their protest despite the heightened security presence.
Tensions escalated when Vinesh Phogat and her cousin sister Sangeeta Phogat, leading the wrestlers, attempted to breach the security barricades. A clash ensued, with pushing and shoving between the protesters and police officers.
Dependra Pathak, the Special Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, confirmed that all protesters were detained and taken into custody by the police. According to him, the athletes were detained for violating law and order, and an inquiry will be conducted before legal action is taken.
Subsequently, the police proceeded to clear the protest site, which had been active since the wrestlers resumed their protest against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on April 23.
Despite the detentions, the protesting athletes, including Olympic medallists and Asian Games gold winners, remain steadfast in their demand for the arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. They emphasized that the use of force by the police would not deter them from continuing their peaceful protest and assembly.