Wrestlers' march: Delhi Police on alert, barricades up roads leading to new Parliament building

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Protesting wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik during a press conference, at Jantar Mantar | Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Ahead of protesting wrestlers' march towards the new Parliament House, security has been beefed up in the national capital.

On Saturday protesting wrestlers said that they have decided to hold a women's Maha Panchayat in front of the new Parliament building on Sunday.

Following this, Delhi Police have put up barricades near ITO road, the Tikri border and the Singhu border area as Khap Panchayat leaders and farmers are also likely to join the protesting wrestlers' march.

Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on Saturday said that he is ready to face a narco test and urged the protesting wrestlers not to hold any kind of agitation near the new Parliament building, which will be inaugurated on Sunday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla will dedicate to the nation the new Parliament building on Sunday.

"The country is getting a new Parliament building and it is a matter of pride. But I was saddened when I heard that wrestlers want to carry out their agitation near it. I urge these wrestlers that I am ready, ready for the narco test, ready for everything. But this (new Parliament inauguration) is a proud moment for us and they (wrestlers) should not create hurdles and world must not get any wrong message," added Brij Bhushan.

Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat said that the wrestlers have decided to hold a women's Maha Panchayat in front of the new Parliament building on May 28.

"We have decided to hold a peaceful women's Maha Panchayat in front of the new Parliament building on May 28," she said.

"Police have closed New Delhi but we request everyone to attend Mahila Panchayat...we will suffer all the atrocities by Police without any violence," she said.

Several ace grapplers including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshee Mallik have been protesting at the Jantar Mantar accusing the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual harassment and demanding his arrest.

On May 19, the wrestlers marched from Jantar Mantar to Bangla Sahib Gurudwara in New Delhi on their 25th day of protest against Brij Bhushan

Grapplers including Punia, Sakshi, Vinesh and others joined the march demanding the arrest of the WFI chief charged with sexual harassment of athletes.

Earlier on April 24, The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports announced that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) will be forming an ad-hoc committee to conduct the elections for the Executive Committee of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) within 45 days of its formation, to manage day-to-day affairs of the body, including the selection of athletes and making entries for the participation of players in international events. This committee will be functioning for an interim period till a new Executive Committee takes charge.

Earlier this year, prominent wrestlers came forward to lead a protest against the WFI chief, following which the Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Thakur, announced the formation of an 'oversight committee' to probe allegations against the WFI, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and some coaches. Wrestling Federation of India Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar is also named as an accused in the FIR.

The movement has gained support from opposition parties and farmer unions, with many people voicing their concerns about the alleged sexual harassment.


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