Olympic wrestlers detained amid sexual abuse protest at Delhi parliament opening

Photo via BBC News

Olympic wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik were among those detained by police in India during a protest against the alleged sexual abuse of female athletes.

Demonstrators attempted to march to Delhi’s new parliament but were stopped by hundreds of police officers on duty for the building’s inauguration. Footage revealed protesters climbing over barricades and being carried away by police. Vinesh Phogat, a two-time World Championship medallist, and her sister Sangeeta were also detained. Malik said…

“This is wrong. We were walking quietly, they dragged us forcefully and detained us and they’re not even telling us where we will be taken.”

Phogat added that the protesters “requested with folded hands” that police let them go and that they would go peacefully. The incident occurred as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was officially opening the new parliament nearby, which replaced the British-era building. Most opposition parties boycotted the ceremony after criticising the government for not asking President Droupadi Murmu, who is head of state, to open it.

Police claimed the protesting wrestlers had not followed their directions and that they had detained those who had tried to break the barricades. Delhi’s Special Commissioner of Police, Dependra Pathak, told local media…

“They broke the law. Regarding further action, we would ascertain what rules have been violated and then take action by following the due legal process.”

The police’s handling of the march has been criticised by several opposition politicians.

“Strongly condemn the way Delhi Police manhandled Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and other wrestlers,” tweeted West Bengal’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from the All India Trinamool Congress party. “It’s shameful our champions are treated in this manner.”

Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is from the Aam Aadmi Party, called the police’s behaviour “very wrong and condemnable.”

Malik, the first Indian woman to win an Olympic wrestling medal in 2016, later tweeted that once she and her fellow protesters were released, they would begin their “satyagraha,” a form of non-violent resistance, again.

The demonstrators accuse wrestling officials of sexually abusing women in the sport, including the head of its governing body, Brij Bhushan Singh, who denies the claims. Their protests began in January but were called off the same month after Singh was stripped of his administrative powers by the sports ministry and the government promised to investigate their complaints. The wrestlers restarted their protests in April, calling for his arrest. Earlier this month, they claimed they were abused and assaulted by Delhi police.

The Indian Olympic Association set up a committee to investigate the allegations against Singh, which submitted its report weeks ago. The committee’s findings have not yet been revealed. Police in Delhi were also on guard as a group of farmers tried to enter the city to support the wrestlers, following dozens of farmers breaking down police barricades in Delhi to join another protest earlier this month.

Thailand Protest NewsWorld News

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Lilly Larkin

Lilly is a writer with a diverse international background, having lived in various countries including Thailand. Her unique experiences provide valuable insights and culturally sensitive perspectives in her news reporting. When not writing, Lilly enjoys exploring local art scenes, volunteering for community projects, and connecting with people from different cultures.