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Sports

Wrestlers plan women mahapanchayat outside new Parliament; PM Narendra Modi will inaugurate building on May 28

Wrestlers 3

NEW DELHI, May 21: On a day their deadline to arrest Wrestling Federation of India’s (WFI) sidelined president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh expired, the protesting wrestlers, led by Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik, on Sunday announced that a women ‘mahapanchayat’ will be held outside the new Parliament building here, which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 28.
The wrestlers don’t have permission from the police to hold any such mahapanchayat, which could pose a law and order situation in a highly-sensitive security zone.
The decision was taken at the ‘Sarv Khap Panchayat’ held in Maham town of Haryana’s Rohtak district on Sunday, which was attended by Rio Olympics bronze medallist Malik representing the protesting wrestlers. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait was also part of the gathering.
The Khaps (community courts) which gave a call for mahapanchayat outside Parliament are known as ‘maham chaubisi’, which is a cluster of 24 villages in Rohtak district. Farmers and representatives of Khaps from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana attended the meeting in Rohtak.
It was also decided during the gathering to carry out a candlelight march to India Gate on May 23 to mark one-month of the wrestlers’ current sit-in against Singh’s arrest at Jantar Mantar. The wrestlers don’t have police permission to take out the march.
Singh is accused of sexually molesting seven female wrestlers, including a minor, during his time as WFI president.
“We had left this call (to plan the next course of action) on the khap panchayat. We will abide by what our elders and well-wishers tell us. We had given the government the time till May 21 to arrest Brij Bhushan – the deadline for which expired today. Now, the time has come to expand this agitation. A women mahapanchayat will be held outside the new Parliament on the day PM Modi will inaugurate it. All our protesting female wrestlers will go from Jantar Mantar to join the mahapanchayat on that day. We expect women from across the country to reach New Delhi on May 28 to support wrestlers in their fight for justice,” Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist, Bajrang, told TOI on Sunday.
Bajrang also informed that the chances of protesting wrestlers’ participation at the upcoming Asian Games in China’s Hangzhou should be considered as good as over since most of them are outside practice and aren’t following their diets.
“We don’t think we would be able to participate at the Asiad. Given the current state of our body and mind, we can’t even win the selection trials, leave alone competing in Hangzhou. We are out of training for months and aren’t following our diet chart. We are no longer in the race for the Asiad. This battle is far bigger than winning a medal at the Asiad or Olympics,” he said. (TNN)

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