Indian wrestlers, including Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, and Vinesh Phogat, have been staging a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, demanding the arrest of former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The wrestlers accuse Singh of sexually harassing seven women grapplers, including a minor. Now, they are contemplating taking their agitation to Ram Lila ground, with the aim of transforming it into a “national movement.”
The suggestion to shift the protest to Ram Lila ground came from Bhim Army president Chandrashekhar Azad, who joined the wrestlers at Jantar Mantar. Azad believes that by moving to a larger venue, the protest will gain more visibility and become a nationwide cause. The wrestlers are currently deliberating this proposal and are expected to make a decision soon.
The wrestlers have been protesting for the past 24 days, attracting attention from various quarters. The ad hoc committee formed by the Indian Olympic Association has taken over the national federation from WFI officials, but the wrestlers remain steadfast in their demand for Singh’s arrest. They feel that their voices are being stifled and that their cause is being marginalized at Jantar Mantar.
Vinesh Phogat, one of the prominent wrestlers involved in the protest, expressed her dissatisfaction with the current protest site, claiming that the wrestlers were being stalked and confined to a corner. This dissatisfaction has fueled their consideration of relocating the protest to a more prominent venue like Ram Lila ground.
While the wrestlers have been engaging in various activities to raise awareness about their cause, including marches and reaching out to international athletes, Azad believes that a shift to Ram Lila ground would amplify their impact. He emphasized that it is ultimately the decision of the wrestlers whether they want to continue their protest at Jantar Mantar or make it a larger movement at Ram Lila ground.
In response to Azad’s suggestion, Sakshi Malik, one of the leading wrestlers, stated that the decision would be discussed among the protesters. However, she did not clarify whether they would completely shift the protest site or continue their agitation at both Jantar Mantar and Ram Lila ground.
The wrestlers have set a deadline of May 21 for the government to take action against Brij Bhushan. As the date approaches, they are considering their options to intensify their movement and gain broader support. By potentially making the protest a “national movement” at Ram Lila ground, the wrestlers aim to draw attention to the issue of sexual harassment in sports and ensure that justice is served.