The wrestlers’ protest entered its 15th day on Sunday with various farmer organisations and khap panchayats joining them at Jantar Mantar and giving a two-week deadline to the government for taking action against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
With most supporters stopped at various borders around Delhi, only a limited delegation was allowed to travel and meet the wrestlers but it still ended up being an almost 2000-strong gathering. Addressing the media after being huddled in discussions with the wrestlers throughout the day, Bhartiya Kisan Union’s Rakesh Tikait presented their list of demands.
“We will wait for 14 days for the government to respond. If it does not find a solution to this issue or sincerely agree to discuss it, we will meet again on the 21st and then decide on the way ahead and the next course of action. Some big decisions could be taken on the 21st if nothing happens,” he declared. A candlelight vigil was held later in the evening.
Accompanied by Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik, the face of the ongoing protests, Samyukta Kisan Morcha leader Baldev Singh Sirsa and pradhan of the Meham 24 Khap Mehar Singh – Bajrang Punia was conspicuous by his absence – Tikait insisted that the protest remained led by the wrestlers.
“Representatives of all the khaps were present in today’s meeting. We have decided that the protest will continue to be led by the wrestlers only, it is their fight for justice. And their nine-member committee only will organise and manage the protest here. We will give it full support from outside. Members from all khaps will come and sit here with them every day and leave in the evening, replaced by others the next day. If someone wants to stay at night they can do so,” he added.
Among the main demands of the wrestlers are the resignation and arrest of Singh as the WFI chief and the removal of his family members from various posts in the wrestling federation. “We want the police to first arrest him and then continue whatever probe or interrogation they want to do,” Vinesh said.
She added that the wrestlers were planning to get their training schedule on track starting tomorrow without missing any sessions and insisted that they were far from finished. “We have not stopped playing. We will go for trials and competitions,” she said. However, the wrestlers haven’t yet decided on following a parallel legal course by filing a petition in a lower court, leaving that decision also to their elders and khaps.
Asked if the protesters were planning to submit a written demand to the government as well, Tikait laughed. “The government has every agency under it present here. It even knows when and how we breathe, why do we need to submit anything? But we have to be prepared for a long fight across the country and districts. It will only grow in the coming days. These are not girls of Haryana but girls of India,” he said.
- India kits at Asian Games 2023: What do the patterns on the Indian jerseys signify?
- Manchester United goalkeeper Earps wins England Women’s Player of the Year
- Southee to undergo thumb surgery, ODI World Cup decision next week
- England’s Root to get ODI World Cup practice against Ireland
- Asian Games 2023: Indian debutants to watch out for at Hangzhou