Midnight drama at Jantar Mantar: Wrestlers face police high-handedness

Protesting wrestlers allege police misbehaved with female wrestlers, also detain AAP leader Somnath Bharti who brought cots for players

NEW DELHI | Updated: 04 May, 2023 1:30 am IST
Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik's face says it all 

The drama unfolded late at night at Jantar Mantar when Delhi Police denied protesting wrestlers cots and bedding that were brought by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Somnath Bharti.

The wrestlers also alleged that one policeman was caught drunk and also abused women wrestlers protesting at Jantar Mantar. They also alleged that one of the protestors got injured after the policemen beat him up.

The police also detained Bharti and his supporters and took them to Mandir Marg Police Station.

Soon after his detention, Bharti released his video on Twitter, stating, “Strange is the situation, BJP’s MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh is out n enjoying despite having a Pocso FIR against him but just because I supported d demand of women wrestlers for a foldable cot to avoid rain wrenched site of Jantar Mantar, I hv bn detained in Mandir Marg PS (sic).”

Hours before Bharti arrived at the protest site, AAP said that the party would extend help to the protesting wrestlers as rain drenched the mattress on which the wrestlers sleep at night at the protest site.

Bharti came with some cots but was stopped by Delhi Police personnel. The female wrestlers questioned the police officers for not allowing the cots inside the site. In the meantime, an argument broke out, which soon turned worse.

In the melee, protesting wrestlers caught one police officer, whom they alleged was under the influence of alcohol. Soon more policemen were called and Bharti and a few other protestors were detained.

Led by Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat and Olympic medallists Sakshi Mallik and Bajrang Punia, wrestlers are protesting at Jantar Mantar demanding the arrest of powerful wrestling federation chief Singh in an alleged sexual harassment case. They have been protesting at Jantar Mantar for the past 11 days.

On Wednesday afternoon, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) chief PT Usha met with the wrestlers. She also requested the wrestlers call off their protest as the case was already registered against Singh, but the wrestlers refused to leave the site.

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