Agitating wrestlers on May 15 evening gathered in large numbers and marched in protest from Jantar Mantar to Connaught Place stating that they are planning on taking their protest “global” and have approached other Olympic players and sportspersons for support in demanding the arrest of Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
Since April 23, India’s ace wrestlers - Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat, have been protesting at Jantar Mantar over sexual harassment allegations against Mr. Singh.
Vinesh Phogat, one of India’s top wrestlers said, “we shall approach Olympians and Olympic medallists, we will make it global, there are some people trying to tarnish the protest and we are being stalked.”
“We’re being recorded without our consent, people have made videos and have clicked photographs, despite our telling them not to click our photos, they continue doing it,” Ms. Phogat said.
The protesting wrestlers marched on foot from Jantar Mantar to Connaught Place around 6 p.m. They carried placards that read “those who made our Tricolour proud, are being let down” and photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulating the wrestlers. The wrestlers said, their only demand is an arrest.
Ms. Phogat further alleged that the wrestlers are being tarnished just for seeking justice. “People, including women, whom we don’t know, are sitting at the protest site at night,” Ms. Phogat added.
The wrestlers feel Jantar Mantar is restrictive and have called for a bigger and larger agitation across the country.
“This isn’t a wrestler or female wrestlers’ fight, it’s a fight for every woman and every sportsperson, today, we call for your support,” Sakshi Malik, another wrestler, who has been part of the protest since its beginning said.
“Our deadline is May 21, if there is no action taken against Mr Singh, we will take a bigger call on our agitation,” Ms. Phogat said, adding that they are in touch with various student led organisations, women rights organisations and farmers union.
Bhim Army chief Chandrasekhar Azad met the wrestlers on Monday and said, “it’s been a long time and there has been no breakthrough, in a country, where the women are let down, the men shouldn’t sit inside their homes and watch, we have to come out in large numbers to protest against the injustice.”
He added, that villages and smaller towns will also support the wrestlers and their agitation.
Former governor Satyapal Malik visited the wrestlers for the second time and promised them support.
To support the wrestlers’ agitation, they have asked citizens to give them a missed call. Sakshi Malik said, “if you believes that the wrestlers struggle is not theirs alone, then you should give the wrestlers a missed call on 9053903100”.