The Congress on Thursday hit out at the BJP-run central government over a scuffle between the Delhi Police and the wrestlers protesting at Jantar Mantar, and called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to show “sensitivity” by visiting the grapplers at their protest site.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi condemned the manhandling of female wrestlers. “Such behaviour with the players of the country is shameful,” he said. “‘Beti Bachao’ is just hypocrisy. In fact, the BJP has never shied away from committing atrocities on the daughters of the country,” Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi, while sharing a video of the players in which they are seen accusing the police of beating them up.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tagged a video of wrestlers breaking down and said it was sad to see the tears of female sportspersons who brought laurels for the country with hard work and dedication.
“They should be heard and justice be given,” Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi. Congress’ media department head Pawan Khera in a tweet said, “Mr Prime Minister, it will take you just 15 min to go visit these wrestlers at Jantar Mantar. Show some sensitivity.” He added, “Please don’t let the world say that Indian govt has betrayed India’s daughters.”
A scuffle broke out late Wednesday night between wrestlers and some policemen at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, leading to head injuries to a couple of protesters. The wrestlers have alleged that they were beaten up by the police.
In the early hours of Thursday, Congress MP Deepender Hooda tweeted in Hindi, “When I reached Jantar Mantar to enquire about the condition of our daughters, the Delhi Police took me into custody outside the protest site and has now brought me to the Vasant Vihar Police Station.” Tagging a video of Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik breaking down and her colleague Vinesh Phogat consoling her, the Congress in a tweet in Hindi said, “These are the daughters of our country, safeguarded the country’s honour and won us many medals. Today the police of Home Minister Amit Shah are misbehaving with them.”
“Narendra Modi ji, why are you doing this injustice?” the party said.
In another tweet in Hindi, the Congress said, “Congress MP Deepender Hooda ji reached the spot as soon as he came to know about the atrocities of Delhi Police on the daughters of the country.” Congress stands firmly with the daughters of the country, the party said, and added, “the clear message is don’t be afraid, we are together with you.” According to protestors, two wrestlers, Rahul Yadav and Dushyant Phogat, were injured in the late night incident. Phogat, an award winning wrestler, also received head injuries.
Several wrestlers who have won awards at international competitions have been protesting at Jantar Mantar, demanding that the government make public the findings of an oversight panel that investigated the sexual harassment charges against Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
The Delhi Police has filed two FIRs against Singh on allegations of sexual harassment levelled against the BJP MP by seven women wrestlers.
The wrestlers have asserted that they would not leave the protest site until Singh is arrested. They resumed their sit-in last week and demanded that the findings of the panel that probed the allegations be made public.
Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala also slammed the government over the issue. In a tweet, the Rajya Sabha MP said, “Save India’s Daughters from BJP! Shameful, Shocking & Disgraceful! Is this how you empower Nari Shakti? India’s athletes are being maltreated only because the offender Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh is BJP leader, BJP MP & an associate of PM Modi.”
“This is a Black Day for Indian Sports,” Surjewala said and wondered if anyone has any reason anymore to encourage their daughters to bring laurels to India. “Is it not true that offender BJP MP has direct protection of PM?” Surjewala said. “Who’ll give justice to India’s Daughters? Why is Modi Government ordering Delhi Police to harass and humiliate our daughters in the middle of the night?” he said.
The politician also alleged that the Delhi Police was working at the behest of Union Minister Amit Shah to intimidate the protesting wrestlers. “Can there be a more inhumane treatment of our Sportspersons? Isn’t it true that first Modi Govt ordered Delhi Police to scuffle with Ex Servicemen demanding One Rank, One Pension and is now scuffling with India’s athletes and Sportsmen & women, who won medals for India by sheer dint of their hard work?” Surjewala, who hails from Haryana, said. “Justice is dead! This black day will always be remembered as the day humanity died at Jantar Mantar,” he added.