New Delhi: A khap mahapanchayat held in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar on Thursday, June 1, decided that a delegation would meet President Droupadi Murmu to seek justice for the wrestlers demanding action against Bharatiya Janata Party MP and outgoing Wrestlers Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Saran Singh.
“We will meet the president and the government and if they do not take any decision (on Brij Bhusan Saran Singh), we will take the next step,” PTI reported farmer leader Rakesh Tikait as saying.
The Delhi Police has filed two first information reports against Singh. The first FIR relates to allegations by a minor wrestler. It has been registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The second FIR is related to outraging modesty.
Singh, who has repeatedly denied all charges against him, said on May 31 that he would hang himself if a single allegation is proved against him.
The BJP MP has even called for an amendment to dilute the POCSO law.
“The Khap Panchayat and these girls (wrestlers) will not get defeated. A decision will be taken soon,” he added.
VIDEO | “The Khap Panchayat and these girls (wrestlers) will not get defeated. A decision will be taken soon,” says farmer leader Rakesh Tikait on future course of action of wrestlers’ protest. pic.twitter.com/X8VfhK1SeF
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) June 1, 2023
Khap leaders from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi attended the mahapanchayat on Thursday, the news agency reported.
Tikiat said the khaps will hold another meeting in Kurukshetra on Friday, June 2, where more decisions will be taken. “Representatives of the khaps will meet the president and the government in support of the wrestlers and the fight will continue till they get justice,” he said.
Apart from the Bharatiya Kisan Union, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha has also shown support to the wrestlers’ protest. It has given called for a nationwide agitation “to secure the democratic right to protest by the Indian wrestlers”. They have also demanded Singh’s arrest.
They will also hold demonstrations and burn effigies of the WFI chief on June 5, the day a group of seers in Ayodhya has planned a rally in support of Singh, PTI reported.
On May 30, Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, and Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat went to Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar along with their supporters to throw their medals in the Ganga river.
But after farm leaders persuaded them not to take the drastic step, the wrestlers decided not to throw their medals in the river.
The farm leaders have sought five days’ time to address their grievances.
The wrestlers had also planned to sit on a hunger strike at India Gate after immersing their medals in the Ganga, but the Delhi Police hasn’t given them permission to hold a protest there.
The police told news agency PTI that they will suggest alternative options to them for sitting on a dharna. “India Gate is not a protest site and we will not allow them (wrestlers) to protest there…They have not approached us till now with any such request. If they want to protest, they will have to submit a written communication to the DCP concerned, following which a call will be taken accordingly,” a police official told PTI.
Note that wrestlers were brutally manhandled by the police when they took out their protest march towards the new parliament on May 28.
Ahead of the parliament inauguration, Phogat had said, “Even after all that if he attends the parliament on Sunday then you can understand where the country is heading.”
In response to the protests, sports minister Anurag Thakur has said that the government is handling the situation sensitively.
The wrestling champions and others have been protesting at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar since 23 April, demanding the arrest of Singh.