Wrestlers' Protest: Khap Mahapanchayat Announces 'Women’s Panchayat', March to New Parliament

The khap ‘mahapanchayat’ announced its decision after it had said that they will take a ‘major call’ if no action is taken until Sunday.

New Delhi: In support of wrestlers protesting against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president and BJP MP Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, khap groups will hold a ‘women’s panchayat’ in front of the new parliament building on its inauguration day, May 28, The Hindu reported. 

The khap ‘mahapanchayat’ announced its decision after it had said that they will take a ‘major call’ if no action is taken until Sunday, according to the Indian Express

The mahapanchayat held in Rohtak comprised about 2,000-3,000 people including community elders, farm union leaders and khap leaders who are advising the wrestlers in their fight against the WFI chief, the Indian Express reported. 

“They have taken four decisions. The women’s panchayat will be held right before the Parliament building on May 28. On May 23 we will hold a candle light march from Jantar Mantar to India Gate. The Mahapanchayat reiterated its demand of the arrest of Brij Bhushan and it was promised that on wrestlers’ call, khaps would reach the protest site within five hours of the call,” medal-winning wrestler Bajrang Punia told the Hindu

It has not been decided if the women will be accompanied by male protesters at the march, Punia added. 

Meanwhile, the Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) ad-hoc panel which is tasked with running WFI is likely to organise the Asian Games trials around June 20, the Hindu report said.

With the protest against the WFI chief getting prolonged, the protesting wrestlers are missing out on practice sessions if they decide to appear at the trials, the Hindu report said. “I am willing to sacrifice even an Olympic medal in this fight,” Punia told the Hindu.

Addressing concerns about police permissions Punia said they will not let that stop them, the Indian Express report said. “The police haven’t even given us permission to be at Jantar Mantar. When we are taking out peaceful protests, nothing wrong will happen. If the police grant us permission, nothing like it,” Punia told the Indian Express

The wrestlers have been protesting at Jantar Mantar since April 23 demanding the arrest of Brij Bhushan, who they have accused of having sexually harassed seven female wrestlers, including a minor. A candle light march at India Gate has been planned for Tuesday to mark the completion of a month since the protests began, the Indian Express report said.

Responding to WFI chief’s remarks that he is ready for a polygraph test if wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia also get tested, Phogat told ANI, “I would like to tell Brij Bhushan that not only Vinesh, all the girls who have given the complaint are ready to undergo the Narco test. It should be done live so that the entire country knows about his cruelty to the daughters of the country.”