Beaten & detained, wrestlers now face case for rioting, assault

In its FIR, Delhi Police say that some cops sustained injuries due to confrontations by top wrestlers on Sunday

NEW DELHI | Updated: 29 May, 2023 2:01 pm IST
Wrestlers were engaged in a confrontation when Delhi Police tried to detain them on Sunday.

NEW DELHI: Hours after dragging them on Delhi roads, detaining and removing their protest camps at Jantar Mantar, as many as 12 wrestlers protesting against India’s wrestling body chief over alleged sexual harassment were on Sunday booked for rioting and causing harm to public servants.

Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Mallikh, and Bajrang Punia – the three ace athletes leading the month-long protest – were detained when they tried to march towards the new parliament at the time of its inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

For the past 35 days, they had been on a protest demanding the arrest of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief, Brijbhushan Sharan Singh. However, on Sunday, as they marched towards the newly constructed parliament building located on Parliament Street, they were intercepted and taken into custody by the police.

Subsequently, they were released in the evening.

Delhi Police emphasized their cooperation with the protesters throughout their demonstration at Jantar Mantar. They also highlighted that the demonstrators were granted permission to hold a candle march at Kartavya Path near India Gate, despite it being a high-security zone.

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According to the First Information Report (FIR) obtained by The New Indian, during the inauguration ceremony of the new parliament building, the protesters allegedly “breached two layers of barricades” while marching towards the venue. The FIR states that Delhi Police officers made repeated announcements through loudspeakers, urging the protesters not to approach the parliament due to the ongoing inauguration ceremony. The security of the event was deemed paramount and non-negotiable, the FIR said.

Delhi Police further stated in the FIR that Section 144, which imposes prohibitory orders, was in effect across Delhi. Despite this, the protesting wrestlers allegedly broke through the barricades and continued their march towards the Parliament, resulting in injuries to a few police personnel when they attempted to intervene.

Senior police officials barricaded Jantar Mantar after the wrestlers announced their intention to march towards the new parliament for the Mahila Samman Mahapanchayat on Sunday afternoon. Amid the chaos, some protesters reportedly engaged in confrontations with Delhi Police personnel.

The accused in the FIR include Vinesh, Sakshi, Bajrang, Sudesh, Suman Hooda (BKU (Chadani) leader), Sachin, Luvdeep, Sombir, Sangeeta, Gaganpreet, Satyawrat Kadian, Harendra Punia, Mandeep Krantikari, and others.

They have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including punishment for rioting, unlawful assembly, obstructing public servants, disobedience to lawful orders, voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servants, assault or criminal force to deter public servants, and Section 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. The charges have been filed at the Parliament Street Police Station.

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