Jantar Mantar protests: Wrestlers claim police manhandled them

New Delhi: There was chaos at Jantar Mantar late in the night on May 3 as India’s top wrestlers alleged that police had manhandled and abused them. The latest confrontation seemed to have started when the wrestlers tried to bring beds to the protest site.

The argument with the police reduced Rio Olympics bronze medalist Sakshi Malik to tears while Vinesh Phogat was seen arguing with the officials in a video that surfaced from the location. Vinesh alleged that a drunk policeman had assaulted her brother. She claimed that another police officer had shoved her and Sangeeta Phogat.

“Since it rained today, the streets are wet. That’s why we were trying to get a bed to the protest site. They’re abusing us. This is how they respect daughters,” Tokyo Olympics medalist Bajrang Punia told journalists.

Delhi police officials, however, said the police official was not drunk and that no protester was beaten.

Recalling the incident, wrestler Bajrang Punia broke down and said: “I request the government to take back all my medals”.

A senior police officer said, “There were a few men who tried bringing cots to the protest site. When policemen asked them about it, they got aggressive and the protesters joined them. They wrongfully restrained a policeman and accused him of being drunk. This is not true. Other officers are at the site and the situation is now under control. No protester was beaten up.”

AAP minister Saurabh Bharadwaj, meanwhile, tagged L-G VK Saxena in a tweet, asking him to take note of a purported video of an argument between the protesters and the police.

“Please note Lt Governor Delhi. A Delhi Police officer attacked a wrestler at Jantar Mantar. It is alleged that the policeman was drunk. A medical test should be conducted and MLC of the victim should also be registered,” he tweeted also tagging the Delhi Police Commissioner in the tweet.

Top Indian wrestlers have been protesting on the streets of New Delhi for the last 10 days over the lack of action against the head of the country’s wrestling federation, Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, whom they accuse of sexual harassment.

Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy: thequint.com)

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