Wrestlers protest: A khap 'mahapanchayat' in Haryana's Kurukshetra district is over today (June 2). Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait gave ultimatum to Centre and asked them to arrest WFI chief and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh at the earliest.
"We have taken a decision that Government must address the grievances of wrestlers and he (Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh) should be arrested otherwise we will go with wrestlers to Jantar Mantar, Delhi on June 9 and will hold panchayats across the nation," said Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait after meeting is over.
Earlier, the representatives of various khaps and farmers' outfits reached the Jat Dharamshala from different places, including Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Meanwhile, a scuffle broke out between the members of Khap panchayat during their meeting in support of wrestlers' protest in Haryana today (June 2).
Farmer outfits had held a "khap mahapanchayat" in Uttar Pradesh and a series of protests in Punjab and Haryana on Thursday (June 1), showing solidarity with the wrestlers who have accused outgoing Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexually harassing female grapplers, including a minor.
Rakesh Tikait on mahapanchayat meeting:
"A big message from Haryana (to the government) should be conveyed from here (Khap Panchayat in Kurukshetra). Let them have 7-10 days' time (to take action). They cancelled the June 5 meeting (Brij Bhushan's ‘maha rally’ in Ayodhya) after coming under pressure from the Khap Panchayat," says farmer leader Rakesh Tikait on wrestlers' protest.
Talking to media before the "mahapanchayat" started in the afternoon, Rakesh Tikait said the wrestlers are the country's pride and all they are demanding is justice in the case. Tikait said while they are meeting at Kurukshetra, many organisations and khaps are holding meetings in other states, including Maharashtra and Rajasthan, to press for action against the "injustice being done to the country's daughters".
He said the government will have to bow down in front of the genuine demands of the protesting wrestlers. Tikait said specific charges have been levelled against the outgoing WFI chief and police must take immediate action against him.
He said even the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has condemned the manner in which the protesting wrestlers were treated by the Delhi Police over the weekend, describing it as "very disturbing".
Wrestlers manhandled by Delhi Police:
The wrestlers were allegedly manhandled by police personnel when they attempted to march towards the new Parliament building after its inauguration on Sunday (May 28).
Tikait said even though the outgoing WFI chief "is making different statements, there is no statement from the government's side yet" on the issue. Dalbir Singh, a khap leader, said they demand strong action in the matter, adding that "otherwise, our daughters will not be safe". Tikait had earlier said they had a plan to meet President Droupadi Murmu and organise another "mahapanchayat" in Kurukshetra on Friday to discuss the next steps in the agitation.
Olympic and World Championship medal-winning wrestlers Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Sangeeta Phogat are among those protesting against the outgoing WFI chief, who accused them on Thursday of changing their demands. At a press conference in Uttar Pradesh's Gonda, Singh said the wrestlers should wait for the findings of the Delhi Police probe into the allegations against him.
The wrestlers travelled to Haridwar on Tuesday, after announcing that they will immerse their medals in the Ganga. They were persuaded by khap and farmer leaders not to carry out the threat. The leaders sought five days' time from the wrestlers to address their grievances.
The Delhi Police has filed two FIRs based on the wrestlers' complaints. One of those relates to the allegations levelled by a minor wrestler and has been registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
(With agencies inputs)