Arrest Wrestling Body Chief By June 9 Or Face Larger Protest: Farmer Leaders Warn Centre
New Delhi: India’s protesting wrestlers have found sympathisers from multiple quarters. But their biggest support base in the fight against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh are farmers, farmer leaders and khaps.
Standing steadfastly beside the likes of Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia, the farmer leaders on Friday issued a fresh ultimatum to the Central government — arrest Brij Bhushan or face a larger protest.
“We have taken a decision that the government must address the grievances of wrestlers and he (Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh) should be arrested. Otherwise, we will go with the wrestlers to Jantar Mantar in Delhi on June 9 and hold panchayats across the nation,” Rakesh Tikait said today.
“The cases against the wrestlers should be withdrawn and the arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh must happen,” Tikait added.
Brij Bhushan, a BJP MP, has been accused of sexual harassment and intimidation by several female wrestlers, including a minor.
Farmer groups held a ‘khap mahapanchayat’ in UP and a series of protests in Punjab and Haryana in support of the wrestlers.
The wrestlers complained of being manhandled by Delhi Police personnel when they tried to march towards the new Parliament building after it was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 28.
The government has assured justice to the wrestlers.
“The government favours an unbiased investigation… All of us want justice to be delivered, but it will happen after following the due process,” Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur said at Times Network’s India Economic Conclave on Thursday.
The wrestlers, who went to Haridwar three days ago to immerse their medals in the Ganga, were persuaded by khap and farmer leaders not to take such an action, and sought five days’ time to address their concerns.