CHENNAI/NEW DELHI: The scenes and their shrill cries sent shock waves across the sporting world. Olympic and world medallists were dragged and detained by Delhi police just a few kilometres away from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was inaugurating the new Parliament building in the national capital on Sunday morning.
Country's top wrestlers including Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Bajrang Punia, Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik and two-time World Championships medallist Vinesh Phogat were trying to march towards the new Parliament to organise 'Mahila Samman Mahapanchayat' when they were stopped midway and were being forcibly taken to separate locations from Jantar Mantar where they had pitched in their tents for the protest that ran into Day 36. There was quite a commotion while removing Sakshi, Vinesh and Sangeeta Phogat.
It all started when the protesting wrestlers were in no mood to back out. They breached the security cordon while trying to move towards the new Parliament. Top official sources told this newspaper that the Delhi police are going to initiate legal action against the wrestlers and register an FIR under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly creating a ruckus around Jantar Mantar.
The Delhi police also uprooted the tents where these wrestlers were staying since they resumed their protest on April 23 demanding the arrest of the sidelined Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Other belongings of the wrestlers like cots, mattresses, coolers and fans were also removed from the place.
While the move was apparently aimed at ending the ongoing sit-in protest, the wrestlers insisted via social media posts that the protest will continue. "Our protest hasn't ended. Once we are released from police detention, we will start 'satyagraha' at Jantar Mantar. Not dictatorship but this country will see women wrestlers' satyagraha now," tweeted Sakshi and Sangeeta Phogat, Bajrang's wife.
Incidentally, Sakshi, her husband Satyawart Kadian and a few others met Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday evening demanding the arrest of Brij Bhushan. Independent MLA from Charkhi Dadri, Sombir Sangwan, acted as a mediator. "We prepared a seven-point demand letter for the meeting. But wrestlers demanded the immediate arrest of Brij Bhushan even as the Home Minister told them that he will be arrested in one month after police file the chargesheet in court as per law," Sangwan told this daily.