Opposition Parties Extend Support To Wrestlers Amid Plans To Immerse Medals

Opposition parties have extended their support to the protesting wrestlers who reached Haridwar on Tuesday to immerse their medals in river Ganga, slamming the Narendra Modi-led central government for emboldening criminals to commit crimes against women as opposed to their claims of women’s safety.

Top wrestlers, including Olympians Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik and world Asian and Commonwealth Games winner Vinesh Phogat, reached Haridwar today after being barred and manhandled by Delhi Police while protesting against Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over sexual harassment complaints.

In an emotional statement, the wrestlers said, “These medals are our life and soul. We are going to immerse them in the Ganges. After that there is no point of living, so we will sit on a hunger strike until death at India Gate.”

Reacting to this, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge in a tweet in Hindi, “The daughters of India are saying that ‘police and system’ is no longer sacred. Everyone has seen in the last few days what has happened to the daughters who have brought laurels to the country. Modi ji gives long lectures on respect for women from the Red Fort, but the one who is accused of sexual harassment has full protection”.

He also asked why there was stubbornness on the part of the government in giving justice to the wrestlers, who have been agitating against the BJP MP for weeks.

“If this does not indicate that the government’s soul is dead and the prime minister has become a dictator…then what else is this?” asked Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate in an interaction with reporters.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the whole country was “stupefied” by the wrestlers’ intention to float away their medals and asserted that the “prime minister should shed arrogance”.

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann also called it “shameful for the country” that the wrestlers had to come up with the plan to immerse their medals in Ganga as they were fed up with the central government.

On the other hand, Trinamool Congress has filed a case with the National Human Rights Commission seeking action against the Delhi Police for “manhandling and assaulting” protesting women wrestlers at Jantar Mantar here, party spokesperson Saket Gokhale said.

TMC supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had condemned the treatment of the police against protesting wrestlers outside the new Parliament. “It’s shameful our champions are treated in this manner. Democracy lies in tolerance but autocratic forces thrive on intolerance and quelling of dissent,” she had tweeted.

Police had last month registered two FIRs against the WFI chief but he has not been arrested so far. Meanwhile, an FIR was filed against the wrestlers protesting at Jantar Mantar, within hours of their detention by police for attempting to approach the new Parliament during its inauguration. They were also removed from the protest site.

The top wrestlers have been protesting at Jantar Mantar since April 23 seeking the arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for allegedly sexually harassing women grapplers. The outgoing WFI president has rejected the charges against him and expressed his willingness to undergo narco analysis and polygraph tests provided the wrestlers follow suit.

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