Protesting wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, and Bajrang Punia, were detained by Delhi Police while attempting to march towards the new parliament building today.
The athletes had planned a ‘Mahila Samman Mahapanchayat’ (women’s assembly) as part of their ongoing protest against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
Singh has been accused by the wrestlers of sexually harassing several female athletes. These allegations have stirred a nationwide controversy, leading to widespread protests demanding his arrest.
Delhi Police had ramped up security measures at Jantar Mantar, the designated protest site, ahead of the planned ‘Mahapanchayat’. Despite the increased security, the wrestlers remained adamant about going forward with their protest.
The tension escalated when the wrestlers, led by Vinesh Phogat and her cousin sister Sangeeta Phogat, attempted to breach the security barricades.
“All protesters were detained and forcefully boarded in buses by Police,” said Dependra Pathak, Special Commissioner of Police, Law and Order. He added that the athletes were “detained for violating law and order,” and assured that legal action would be taken “after an inquiry in due course of time”.
Following the detentions, police officers proceeded to clear the protest site, which had been active since the wrestlers resumed their protest against Singh on April 23.
Opposition leaders, who boycotted the parliament opening, strongly condemned the crackdown.