Protesting wrestlers detained, police clearing protest site at Jantar Mantar

New Delhi: Protesting wrestlers including Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia were detained by Delhi Police on Sunday after they breached the security cordon while trying to move towards the new Parliament building, where a women’s Mahapanchayat was planned for the day.

In chaotic scenes witnessed at the Jantar Mantar, wrestlers and police officers shoved and pushed each other as Vinesh Phogat and her cousin sister Sangeeta Phogat tried to breach the barricades.

All protesters were detained and forcefully boarded in buses by Police.

“They have been detained for violating law and order. We will take legal action after inquiry in due course of time,” said Dependra Pathak, Special CP, Law and Order.

The police officials were also seen clearing the protest site, where the wrestlers had resumed their agitation against the Wresting Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on April 23. The Delhi Police had beefed up the security at Jantar Mantar following protesting wrestlers’ call for a ‘Mahila Samman Mahapanchayat’.

Thousands of police personnel were deployed and multiple layers of barricades were in place in the Lutyens’ Delhi area on Sunday.

The wrestlers protesting sitting about two kilometres from the Parliament building had said they will go ahead with their ‘Mahapanchayat’ near the new Parliament building at any cost.

However, Police said no protester will be allowed to move towards the new building as permission has not been granted to hold the event and the wrestlers should not be involved in any “anti-national activity”.

The agitating wrestlers, including likes of Olympic medalists Bajranj Punia, Sakshi and Asian Games gold winner Vinesh have been demanding the arrest of outgoing WFI President Brij Bhushan Singh who they have accused of sexually harassing several women grapplers.

The wrestlers had said that use of force by police will not deter them from going ahead with their peaceful march and the Mahapanchayat.