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Punjab: Farmers' body holds protest against Centre and WFI chief amid wrestlers' stir

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Mohali (Punjab) | June 5, 2023 5:10:32 AM IST
The Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta Puadh, a farmers' body, on Sunday staged a protest against the central government and Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh amid the ongoing stir by ace Indian grapplers.

The WFI chief is facing allegations of sexual harassment from several women grapplers and the protesting wrestlers have demanded that he be arrested and removed from the wrestling federation at the earliest.

According to officials, a protest was held by the farmers belonging to the Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta Puadh in the Zirakpur town of Mohali, demanding the dismissal and arrest of the WFI chief and the six-time BJP MP.

The farmers raised slogans against the Central government and Brij Bhushan Singh, claiming that the government was backing a leader facing serious charges.

"The government is defending a leader facing such serious charges. This will set a wrong precedent and have a negative impact on our future generations," a farmer leader said.

The farmer leaders declared that they would all stand in support of the wrestlers since it is a fight for the dignity of women in the country.

"This is a fight for our daughters and sisters and we will stand with them as long as their struggle continues," another farmer leader said.

The farmer leaders alleged that the central government was not living up to its motto of 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao'.

Earlier, hitting out at the central government over the ongoing protests by the wrestlers demanding the arrest and sacking of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Singh, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said it wasn't even bothered about the plight of the women grapplers.

Speaking at a public event at Pali in Rajasthan on Saturday, CM Gehlot said, "The wrestlers are protesting in Delhi but it seems that the government is not even bothered about their plight. An FIR was registered on the directions of the Supreme Court. In Rajasthan, we have made it mandatory to file an FIR (in the event of an allegation of sexual harassment or abuse).

"Earlier, on Friday, Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait warned the central government that if the WFI chief is not arrested by June 9, they will hold panchayats across the country in support of the grapplers.

Tikait, who attended a Khap panchayat to express solidarity with the protesting wrestlers, said if the demands were not met within the stipulated time, they will march to Jantar Mantra in the national capital instead."We have adopted a resolution that the central government must address the grievances of wrestlers and he (Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh) should be arrested. Else, we will go with wrestlers to Jantar Mantar, Delhi on June 9 and will hold panchayats across the nation," Tikait said.

The Khap leaders said if they will not be allowed to sit at Jantar Mantar on June 9, they will launch a movement.

Earlier Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, and Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat went to Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar along with their supporters to immerse their medals in the Ganga.

However, farmer leader Naresh Tikait urged them not to take the drastic step, after which the wrestlers decided not to throw their medals in the river.

After holding talks with the farmer leader, the wrestlers issued an ultimatum of 5 days to the government to act against the WFI chief.

The Delhi Police had earlier filed two FIRs against Singh.

While the first FIR relates to allegations by a minor wrestler and was registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the second pertains to outraging modesty.

Singh, who has denied the charges against him, alleged that the protesting wrestlers are changing their "demands and language" continuously, adding that he still stands by his statement that he will hang himself if even one of the allegations against him is proven to be true."

...First, they (protesting wrestlers) put forward some other demand and later changed it to something else. They are changing their demands and language continuously. I had said that if even one case against me is proven, I will hang myself. I stand by my statement," Brij Bhushan to media persons in Gonda. (ANI)

 
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