Wrestlers' Agitation: Central Trade Unions, SKM to Observe Protests on June 1 Across Country
Image Courtesy: PTI
Amid the rapid developments of wrestlers' detention and release, the central trade unions on Monday announced an all-India protest on June 1 to oppose the brutal repression of women wrestlers demanding justice against sexual harassment.
In a joint statement, the unions said that police action on May 28, 2023, was shocking in the extreme, patently undemocratic, high-handed, and obviously on the orders of the Central government.
"It is shocking that Brij Bhushan Sharan, the Chairman of the Wrestling Federation of India, who has been accused of sexual harassment by the female wrestlers, one of whom is a minor, is not being touched, despite FIRs lodged against him on Supreme Court orders, while those who have complained against him, braving the social stigma it carries in our patriarchal society, are rounded up and are evicted from the struggle spot."
It added, "This also exposes the hoax played out in the name of the "new Parliament" on the same date and the drama of Sengol, which is supposed to mean doing justice to the common people."
NewsClick learned that Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella organisation of farmers' organisations that spearheaded the historic struggle against controversial three-farm laws, is gearing up with plans to wage a longer struggle to ensure justice for women wrestlers.
Talking to NewsClick, Hannan Mollah, a core team member of the morcha, said that the country witnessed the murder of democracy inside and outside the parliament.
"The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) is trying to replace secular symbols of our nations with feudal ones. They brought sengol and placed it next to the seat of the speaker. Priests were allowed for the inauguration ceremony but not the President of India."
"As far as the wrestler's protests and their suppression is concerned, I can only say that BJP Should Change the slogan from "Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao" to "Balatkari Bachao, Blatkari Badhao", where they have chosen to stand with a history-sheeter who is facing multiple charges of extortion, land grab and even rape. It is unprecedented that our national heroes were meted out with such contempt and repression," Mollah added.
He further said that the constituents of the morcha will meet in the evening to decide on a future course of action. There is a broader consensus that there will be massive protests on June 1 across the country.
Jagmati Sangwan from All India Democratic Women's Association, who has been associated with protests from the initial days, told NewsClick that women's organisations are also planning to organise mass protests against this oppression.
"Currently, the wrestlers are seeking legal advice, too, if they can go back to Jantar Mantar again. As far as women's organisations are concerned, we, too, are planning to bring people on board. The oppression simply showed how patriarchal ethos is deeply rooted in the mentality of bureaucrats and leaders of BJP that they do not want to listen to women. We, too, have suggested some steps to wrestlers. A concrete plan will be soon in front of us. We are determined that justice for our daughters will be ensured."
Delhi Police on Monday informed the media that it had registered a First Information Report against wrestlers and other protest organisers.
The FIR was registered under Sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The officials added that Sections 352 (assault or criminal force otherwise than on grave provocation), 147 (rioting) and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the IPC and Section 3 (mischief causing damage to public property) of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act would also be levied.
Reacting to the action, Vinesh Phogat said that the country is witnessing dreaded times when police registered a complaint against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh in seven days but chose to register FIR within seven hours. Olympian Sakshi Malik said that they would continue the struggle.
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