CDRO condemns the manhandling of the protesting wrestlers


Leading athletes of the country, like World Championships medal winner Vinesh Phogat, Olympic medalists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik and others, who were protesting against the sexual harassment of women wrestlers at the hands of their coaches and, in particular, against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) & its chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Their protest, which started in January 2023 when they sat in silent dharna at Jantar Mantar, has not yet been addressed despite the formation of a panel in January to investigate the matter. The panel was expected to submit its report within four weeks. Thus, while one may expect the truth to come out after a fair probe, the inquiry report, which was ready by April, has yet to be made public. CDRO firmly believes that this shielding of Singh is because Singh has been not just the President of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) since 2011 but also a BJP Member of the Parliament (MP).

But what happened today in Delhi is a blot on the world’s largest democracy, a Vishwa Guru in the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Delhi Police, taking orders from the Central Government, had gone slow with their investigation of sexual harassment against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. However, the same police were found hyperactive in the streets of Delhi today. While the nation witnessed the Prime Minister’s inauguration of a new parliament building, the protesting wrestlers had planned to lead a peaceful march and a Mahila Mahapanchayat near the new parliament building to attract the attention of the ministers and other political leaders. However, in an unprecedented manner, these sports personalities, who had brought many a laurel to the country, were dragged by the Delhi police in open daylight and whisked away to unknown places. Vinesh Phogat tried her best against her detention, and her cousin-sister, Sangeeta, clung to her while lying on the road as the struggle continued for a few dramatic minutes.

While the Prime Minister, who would say Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, was busy inaugurating the parliament building, his party colleague and prime accused, Singh, was seen moving around with other members of parliament during the inauguration program.  On Sunday, Olympic medalist and Padmashree awardee Sakshi Malik said it was a ‘sad day’ in the history of Indian Sports. “A sexual abuser and goon, Brij Bhushan, is sitting in Parliament today, and we are being dragged on the road. Sad day for Indian sports,” Malik said.

The vindictive Delhi police have also removed the makeshift tents, tarpaulin camps, mattresses, etc., from Jantar Mantar, where the wrestlers have been protesting. Not just that, Dependra Pathak, Special CP, Law and Order, Delhi Police, who was also at the spot to monitor the situation, said that the wrestlers had been detained for violating law and order. “We will take legal action after an inquiry in due course of time,” the senior police officer said.

Not just that the protesting wrestlers were detained, but the supporters, who came in large numbers from different walks of life and in individual capacities or as parts of democratic organisations and farmers’ groups, were heckled and arrested. Some of these supporters were arrested yesterday in a bid to prevent them from joining the mahapanchayat.

Like any other citizens, CDRO too is shocked to see how low this government can go to shield an accused in the sexual harassment case and torment the leading sports personalities who are demanding justice.

With this press statement, CDRO renews its demands (an earlier demand note was issued on 13th May 2023) to provide justice to the protesting wrestlers. The Delhi police must immediately arrest Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, and he should be suspended from participating in the parliament proceedings. CDRO further demands that Singh and other coaches involved in this sexual harassment be removed from their positions of power within the WFI. CDRO demands an apology from the Delhi police for their high-handedness and an immediate release of all arrested and detained.

CDRO calls upon all democratic-minded people to support the wrestlers’ protest and expose the patriarchal tendencies of the BJP. CDRO urges people to come out openly against the highhandedness of the Delhi police as a mark of solidarity with the wrestlers.

(Asish Gupta)                                  (Tapas Chakraborty)                    (Kranthi Chaitanya)

Coordinators, CDRO

Constituent Organisations of CDRO:

Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR, Punjab); Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR, Haryana), Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR, West Bengal); Asansol Civil Rights Association(West Bengal); Bandi Mukti Committee(West Bengal); Civil Liberties Committee (Andhra Pradesh); Civil Liberties Committee (Telangana); Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (Maharashtra); Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR TamilNadu); Coordination for Human Rights (Manipur); Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (Assam); Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights; Peoples’Committee for Human Rights (Jammu and Kashmir); Peoples Democratic Forum(Karnataka); Jharkhand Council for Democratic Rights (Jharkhand); Peoples Union For Democratic Rights (Delhi); Peoples Union for Civil Rights (Haryana), Campaign for Peace & Democracy in Manipur, Delhi; Janakeeya Manushyaavakasha Prasthanam, Kerala

Support Countercurrents

Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B.
Become a Patron at Patreon

Join Our Newsletter


Join our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Get CounterCurrents updates on our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Related Posts

Join Our Newsletter

Annual Subscription

Join Countercurrents Annual Fund Raising Campaign and help us

Latest News