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PT Usha heckled by protestors, late-night scuffle with Delhi police, AAP’s Somnath Bharti’s involvement and a dangerous call by Punia: What we know

In a statement, Punia said, "We're in need of the support of the whole country; everyone must come to Delhi. Police using force against us, abusing women and doing nothing against Brijbhushan." He called for everyone to pick up tractors and march towards Delhi. Another protester said, "Do not wait for the morning. Reach here by morning".

On May 3, at around 11 PM, a scuffle broke down between the protesting wrestlers and Delhi police at Jantar Mantar after Aam Aadmi Party leaders, including Somnath Bharti and DCW chairperson Swati Mahiwal, visited the protest site with the police detaining Somnath Bharti and AAP supporters.

The fiasco at Jantar Mantar, however, started much earlier with PT Usha being heckled and manhandled by the protestors. PT Usha had visited the protest site to meet the wrestlers. She was spotted conversing with the wrestlers, including Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, and Bajrang Punia. According to Bajrang Punia, she stated that she is supporting the wrestlers and will seek justice on their behalf. She also added that she is an athlete first. She promised to look into the matter and resolve it immediately. She also affirmed that she was misinterpreted.

A video made it to social media where she was seen being hackled by some protesters that raised concerns about her safety at the protest site. She had to escape with the help of security personnel present at the site.

There was widespread criticism of the manner in which PT Usha was manhandled by the protestors who are urging the nation to support them in their fight. They have often asked for support in the name of being veteran sportspersons who have won laurels for the nation, however, their treatment of PT Usha has raised several eyebrows, given that PT Usha herself is an extremely senior athlete.

It was after the video of PT Usha being manhandled went viral, did news emerge of another scuffle at Jantar Mantar. As per Delhi Police, the entry of any outsider was banned post-evening. Reports suggest that Somnath Bharti visited the protest site to provide them with folding cots in the late hours on the instructions of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Despite the clear guidelines, Bharti arrived at Jantar Mantar with folding cots. When the police stopped him, he argued and tried to cross the barricades. Police had to detain him as a precaution.

Speaking to News Agency ANI, Deputy Commissioner of Police Pranav Tayal said that Bharti came with folding beds with permission during the protests. When Delhi police intervened, his supporters became aggressive and tried to get the beds out of the truck. A minor altercation took place between the police and Bharti. The police detained him and his two supporters.

He said, “Somnath Bharti brought folding beds to the protest site in Jantar Mantar. Since there was no permission, we didn’t allow it, so some of the protesting wrestlers’ supporters tried to remove the beds from the truck, which led to an altercation. We have told the wrestlers to complain about their grievances and will take appropriate action. Medical check-up of the Policeman on whom they’ve raised allegations, being conducted.” The police added the situation was under control.

Reacting to the police statement, Bharti took to Twitter, claiming that protesting women wrestlers had demanded a folding bed to spend the night in the rain, and he was there to support their demand but was detained.

DCW chairperson Swati Mahiwal also visited the site after 12:30 AM claiming she got reports of an alleged attack on the protesters. When female police personnel of Delhi Police tried to stop her, she hung on to the barricades and refused to leave the site.

Mahiwal said, “I am DCW chief. You cannot touch me. What is this behaviour”. Delhi Police’s female officers gently picked her up and carefully put her in the van. They kept urging her to cooperate to ensure she did not get hurt. At one point, she was seen pushing the female police officer. Notably, the police personnel did not lose their cool after Mahiwal pushed the female police personnel.

‘Did we win medals to see such days’ wrestler Vinesh Phogat

In a statement, Vinesh Phogat claimed they were pushed by a police personnel named Dharmendra. She further added, “Was it our mistake that we tried to bring the cots to sleep? Did we win medals for this day? The way they have made us suffer, I would not want any athlete to win a medal for the country.”

Protesters called for mass movement towards Delhi

In a statement, Punia said, “We’re in need of the support of the whole country; everyone must come to Delhi. Police using force against us, abusing women and doing nothing against Brijbhushan.” He called for everyone to pick up tractors and march towards Delhi. Another protester said, “Do not wait for the morning. Reach here by morning”.

Their statement received criticism over social media, after which Punia released another video requesting everyone not to get into a scuffle with the police. He said, “All three of us are fine. The one who got injured is being treated. Delhi Police has circled Delhi. We do not want anyone to get into any scuffle with the police, as they want us to get aggressive. They are detaining anyone who is coming to Delhi [to support us]. You should start your protest wherever they stop you. We are requesting again not to get into a scuffle with anyone or jump the barricades. You can come here after 6 AM. Police have said no one can come here during the night.”

Wrestlers protest

On April 23, ace wrestlers Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia launched a second round of protests against Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, alleging he sexually harassed hundreds of female wrestlers. The first round of protests took place in January this year. It was called off after Sports Minister Anurag Thakur formed a committee to investigate the matter.

Following the fresh wrestlers protest, Delhi Police filed FIRs against Singh based on the complaints of seven athletes. The entry of politicians in the protests and slogans like ‘Modi teri kabar khudegi’ have raised concerns over the actual motive behind the protests.

In other news, the AAP-led Delhi government has announced that Punia will be appointed as chief sports advisor. Currently, he is an employee at Indian Railways.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
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