Skip to main content
xYOU DESERVE INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL MEDIA. We want readers like you. Support independent critical media.

Delhi: In Late Night ‘Scuffle' Police ‘Manhandle’ Wrestlers, 2 Protesters get Head Injuries

AAP, Congress lash out at Delhi Police, MHA and BJP; farmer leader Rakesh Tikait demands release of those detained.

Image Courtesy: PTI

New Delhi:  A late night scuffle allegedly broke out between the wrestlers staging a protest at Jantar Mantar here and some police personnel, leading to head injuries to a couple of protesters.

The protesting wrestlers alleged that they were manhandled by the police personnel.

Four people, including Congress leader Deepender Hooda and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Somnath Bharti, were detained following the incident, police said.

The wrestlers have been staging a sit-in at Jantar Mantar since April 23. They have levelled allegations of sexual harassment against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is also a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Uttar Pradesh.

In a video being circulated on social media platforms, some of the protesters can be heard accusing a police personnel of attacking two wrestlers under the influence of alcohol.

The accused policeman is seen sitting in the video, while the protesters allege that his colleagues were mute spectators.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Pranav Tayal said Bharti came to the protest site with folding beds without permission. On being asked about the beds, his supporters became aggressive and tried to get the beds from a truck, he said, Subsequently, a ‘minor altercation’ took place following which Bharti, along with two others, was detained, the officer added.

Barricades have been put up around the protest site and no one is being allowed in.

Making allegations against the police, former wrestler Rajveer told PTI, "The mattresses got wet due to rain, so we were bringing folding beds for sleeping, but the police did not allow that. Drunk policeman Dharmendra abused Vinesh Phogat and got involved in a scuffle with us."

"They started hitting us. Bajrang Punia's brother-in-law Dushyant and Rahul suffered head injuries. The police did not let doctors reach the site. Even the women constables were misbehaving with us," he alleged.

"I was abused and pushed around by policemen. Where were the women police personnel?" asked Phogat.

Punia's wife Sangeeta also claimed that she was pushed around by policemen.

Punia has called for farmers and their leaders to assemble at the protest site on Thursday morning.

"Delhi Police ki gundagardi ab nahi chalegi (Delhi Police's high-handedness will not work anymore). We will call farmers to assemble here in numbers. We will not tolerate it anymore. Tractors or trolleys. whatever you get, just come here," he said.

Shocked and appalled by the misbehaviour meted out to the protesting wrestlers by the Delhi Police, an emotionally distraught Phogat said they are not criminals and do not deserve such disrespect.

The scuffle broke out around 11 p.m when the wrestlers were bringing folding beds for sleeping and the on-duty police personnel started asking questions about it.

According to the wrestlers, the police personnel behaved badly with them and even abused the women wrestlers.

"If you want to kill us, kill us," Phogat said with tears in her eyes during a late-night media interaction.

"Did we win medals for the country to see this day? We have not even eaten our food. Does every man have a right to abuse women? These policemen are holding guns, they can kill us," she said.

"Where were the female police officers? How can the male officers push us like that? We are not criminals. We do not deserve such treatment. The police officer who was drunk hit my brother," the World Championship medallist said.

Punia exhorted farmers and members of the public to reach Jantar Mantar in their support.

"I request everyone to reach Delhi by Thursday morning. This is the time. If not, then when? This is a question of dignity of our daughters. People like Brij Bhushan are roaming freely despite being criminals and all this is happening to us," he said.

Asked for more details of the late-evening development, Punia said, "CCTV cameras must be there. The footage will make it clear."

Asked specifically if Bharti had brought the folding beds, as being claimed by police, he said, "The CCTV footage will show that he was not there when it happened. We had ordered the beds, we were bringing those inside."

The protesters have been demanding criminal action against Singh for the alleged sexual harassment and intimidation of seven female wrestlers, one of whom is a minor.

The Delhi Police filed two FIRs against the WFI president on Friday on the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by the wrestlers.

BJP's treatment of wrestlers shameful: Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday slammed the BJP over the ‘scuffle’ at Jantar Mantar between wrestlers and police and called its treatment of national sportspersons shameful and arrogant.

Kejriwal in a tweet in Hindi said that arrogance has gone to the head of the BJP and it wanted to run the system through "hooliganism" as he called on people to throw it out of power. 

Kejriwal sharing a video of Jantar Mantar tweeted "such behaviour with the champion players of the country? This is extremely unfortunate and shameful..." 

"I appeal to all the people in the not tolerate BJP's hooliganism, the time has come to uproot the BJP and chase them away," he wrote.         

Congress Slams MHA, as Wrestlers Allege Manhandling

The Congress on Thursday hit out at Union Minister Amit Shah and the Delhi Police under him over a scuffle between police and the wrestlers protesting at Jantar Mantar here.

The Opposition party said that party MP Deepender Hooda was detained by police when he went to the spot after hearing about the "atrocities" of Delhi Police.

In the early hours Thursday, Hooda tweeted in Hindi, "When I reached Jantar Mantar to enquire about the condition of our daughters, the Delhi Police took me into custody outside the protest site and has now brought me to the Vasant Vihar Police Station." 

Tagging a video of Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik breaking down and her colleague Vinesh Phogat consoling her, the Congress said in a tweet in Hindi, "These are the daughters of our country, safeguarded the country's honour and won us many medals. Today the police of Home Minister Amit Shah are misbehaving with them." 

Their only crime is that they are raising their voice against exploitation, the Congress said. 

"Narendra Modi ji, why are you doing this injustice?" the party said. 

Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala also slammed the government over the issue.

In a tweet, the Rajya Sabha MP said, "Save India’s Daughters from BJP! Shameful, Shocking & Disgraceful! Is this how you empower Nari Shakti? India’s athletes are being maltreated only because the offender Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh is BJP leader, BJP MP & an associate of PM Modi."

"This is a Black Day for Indian Sports," Surjewala said and wondered if anyone has any reason anymore to encourage their daughters to bring laurels to India.

"Is it not true that offender BJP MP has direct protection of PM?" Surjewala said.

Rakesh Tikait Demands Release of Those Held

Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait on Thursday demanded that the Delhi Police release those detained by it from the ongoing wrestlers' protest site at Jantar Mantar.

The national spokesperson of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) also alleged that those supporting the wrestlers had been taken into custody by the Delhi Police at the behest of the Centre.

"The arrest of wrestlers, farmers, journalists and the youth who went to support the wrestlers by the Delhi Police at the behest of the government will start a new revolution in the country. The Delhi Police should immediately release them," Tikait tweeted in Hindi. 

The prominent farmer leader had earlier met with the protesting athletes and supported the wrestlers who have been staging a sit-in at Jantar Mantar in the national capital since April 23.

Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.

Subscribe Newsclick On Telegram