3 May 2023

Wrestlers Protest: Brawl At Dharna Site; Police Manhandle Protesting Wrestlers; Several Injured; Bajrang Punia Said We'll Return Medals

New Delhi: Police allegedly assaulted the wrestlers staging dharna against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Singhat Jantar Mantar. It is reported that wrestler Vigesh Phogat's brother suffered head injury. He was taken to a hospital. Some other wrestlers also suffered injuries. The medical of these wrestlers would be done to ascertain the seriousness the injury.

A scuffle broke out between the wrestlers and Delhi Police and wrestlers alleged that female wrestlers including Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik were abused by cops.

Wrestlers said the policemen were drunk. They said at least 2-3 wrestlers were injured. They said the cops abused and misbehaved with them. The police took some wrestlers in custody after the incident.

The police, however, denied they had assaulted wrestlers. Earlier, on 3 May the police had allegedly dragged and assaulted some students, including girl students, of Delhi University who were taking out a march in support of protesting wrestlers. 

We'll return medals: Punia

Wrestler Bajrang Punia said after the clash with the police – We will return the medals we have won to the Government of India. If this kind of behavior happens even after bringing laurels to the country, then we do not want this medal. Delhi Police and Brij Bhushan's men have wanted to spoil this dharna from the very beginning. They are giving it the name of casteism and regionalism.

Dispute arose when folding beds were being taken inside

Some wrestlers also said that the dispute arose when folding beds were being taken inside for the wrestler at the protest site as the mattresses had got wet. Those who were taking beds inside had an argument with the cops who tried to stop them leading to dispute. Bajrang Punia's wife said the police abused the wrestlers and assaulted them.

AAP leader had arrived with bed: Police

At the same time, the police say that Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Somnath Bharti reached the dharna site with a bed, when he was stopped, the wrestlers started a brawl. Wrestlers are on strike over the arrest of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Hearing on this matter is also to be held in the Supreme Court today itself.

In a video being circulated on social media platforms, some of the protesters can be heard accusing a police personnel of attacking two wrestlers under the influence of alcohol.

The accused policeman is seen sitting in the video, while the protesters allege that his colleagues were mute spectators.

Former wrestler Rajveer tsaid the mattresses got wet due to rain so we were bringing folding beds for sleeping, but the cops objected to it. Drunk policeman Dharemendra abused Vinesh Phogat and got involved in a scuffle with us,  he said.

Rajveer said cops started hitting wrestlers. Bajrang Punia's brother-in-law Dushyant and Rahul sustained head injuries. 

Phogat said she was abused and pushed around by policemen. Punia's wife Sangeeta also claimed that she was pushed around by policemen.

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