March 5, 2024
Olympic medal-winning feminine wrestlers voice their doubts in regards to the police’s inaction in response to allegations of sexual harassment in opposition to a BJP MP

Following the institution of the brand new parliamentary construction in New Delhi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a number of distinguished Indian wrestlers, together with Olympic medalists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, have discovered themselves charged with rioting and misconduct. The costs have been introduced in opposition to them by the police after they have been arrested throughout a march to the capital’s parliamentary constructing.

The wrestlers, together with their supporters, have been apprehended following clashes close to the parliament as they escalated their protest, demanding the arrest of their federation chief over allegations of sexual harassment. Whereas a number of the protesters have been later launched by the police on Sunday, formal complaints have been filed in opposition to them underneath numerous sections of the Indian Penal Code, encompassing prices of rioting and obstructing a public servant’s responsibility by assault and illegal pressure.

For the previous month, these wrestlers have been actively engaged of their protest within the capital, calling for motion in opposition to Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, a member of parliament from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Celebration. They’ve demanded Singh’s rapid arrest and sought the intervention of the Supreme Courtroom, which directed the police to provoke a case in opposition to the 66-year-old. Singh, who previously headed the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), has vehemently denied all allegations of harassment leveled in opposition to him by a number of feminine athletes.

The wrestlers had tried to march in direction of the newly inaugurated parliamentary constructing whereas Prime Minister Modi was current, however they have been met with a considerable police presence, ensuing of their detention. Amongst these taken into custody have been Olympic bronze medalists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia.

Expressing her issues previous to her detention, Sakshi Malik emphasised the menace to democracy, stating, “On one hand, parliament is being inaugurated, and alternatively, democracy is being undermined. That is completely unacceptable.”

Malik and Punia are revered as nationwide icons in a rustic that has yearned for Olympic success. Prime Minister Modi had beforehand praised Malik for her 2016 Rio de Janeiro medal and congratulated Punia for his achievement on the 2020 Tokyo Video games.

The wrestlers now accuse the Modi authorities of disregarding their complaints, which they discover deeply troubling, particularly contemplating the Prime Minister’s portrayal of himself as a champion of girls’s rights.

Senior Delhi Police officer Dependra Pathak, talking in regards to the wrestlers, said, “They breached the barricades and didn’t adjust to police directions. They violated the regulation, which led to their detention.”

Safety measures within the capital have been heightened in preparation for the parliamentary inauguration, with extra personnel deployed on the outskirts of Delhi to stop farmers from becoming a member of the wrestlers’ protest. Earlier this month, a number of farmers had forcibly eliminated police barricades within the metropolis to point out their solidarity with the continuing demonstration.

Wrestling is broadly considered one in all India’s most profitable Olympic sports activities, with the nation securing a complete of 21 medals in particular person occasions since gaining independence 76 years in the past, seven of which have been gained by wrestlers.

Nearly all of Indian wrestlers hail from rural areas, many from underprivileged backgrounds, notably within the extremely patriarchal area of Haryana, which grapples with points similar to feminine foeticide and the prevalence of “honour killings” concentrating on girls.

Feminine athletes have lengthy endured cases of sexual harassment inside their sports activities, though they’ve typically been reluctant to come back ahead publicly. Saurabh Mishra, a sports activities lawyer and activist, defined, “Many athletes have confided in me about numerous types of exploitation they’ve skilled, however they’re unwilling to reveal these points whereas they’re at their peak. The in search of of favors, whether or not monetary or sexual, isn’t unusual. For my part, the first culprits are sports activities federation officers who run their organizations like private fiefdoms.