Wrestlers’ protest take political colour, farmer leaders also support athletes

New Delhi: Several politicians, including former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and ‘khap’ leaders on Tuesday met with the protesting wrestlers and extended their support to them.

Hooda, Udit Raj, another Congress leader, CPI leader Brinda Karat, who was stopped from joining the stir by the wrestlers in January, were welcomed by the wrestlers, a day after they had sought support from all quarters.

Hooda spent about 35 minutes with the wrestlers at the Jantar Mantar, where the grapplers had started their protest in January, demanding the removal of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who was accused of sexual harassment and intimidation by them.

While Hooda did not speak, Raj asked the protesting wrestlers to stick to their cause, like the farmers did against the farm laws and said, “You will emerge victorious”.

The Bharat Kisan Union (BKU) representative also joined the wrestlers’ stir.

A few kids, including one from Bhopal, offered their piggy bank, containing their savings, to the wrestlers.

Bajrang Punia, while thanking them, said, “You have big hearts.” Earlier in day, the Supreme Court issued notices to the Delhi government and others on a plea by seven women wrestlers alleging non-registration of an FIR on their sexual harassment allegations against Sharan, saying these are “serious allegations” requiring its consideration.

The top court was initially of the view that the plea of the women wrestlers may be listed for hearing on Friday. However, after hearing some arguments from senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who mentioned the matter, it decided to take up the case straightaway.

The bench said normally a remedy to approach police is available under Section 156 (police officers’ power to investigate cognisable cases) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Sibal alleged that seven wrestlers, including a minor, have made alleged sexual harassment allegations but no FIR has been lodged so far despite the law being very clear on this aspect.