May 28, 2023

Widespread Protests Demand Arrest of Accused BJP Leaders and Justice to Women Wrestlers

THE ongoing struggle by women wrestlers which include international-awardees at Delhi against the sexual harassment and repression by certain officials in the Wrestlers’ Federation of India, as well as the arrogant inaction of the BJP government at the centre has drawn the attention of the entire country. On May 18, in response to the call given jointly by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU), All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and Students’ Federation of India (SFI), countrywide joint mobilisations and protest programmes were organised. Mass dharna, processions, candle light marches, demonstrations were held to bring to the attention of all sections of our country about the tortures and sexual harassment on the concerned women wrestlers, and also to mount pressure on the patronising inaction of the BJP against the culprits, one of who also happens to be an MP of the ruling party.

In state capitals and various district centres of West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Telangana, Maharashtra and other states, demonstrations were held which attracted a large number of people. Even in Andaman Islands, protests were held demanding arrest of Brijbhushan Singh and Sandeep Singh. A symbolic protest was also held at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, where the representatives of the mass organisations addressed the protest and extended their complete support to the struggling sportspersons.  They demanded the police to register a case against the accused under various sections including the POCSO Act. The allegations of harassment and exploitation should be fairly investigated and justice should not be denied. This should not be a reason for our future athletes to fear and not pursue their dreams, they said.

Warning the current anti-women, anti-people, anti-national ruling dispensation that further delay in action will lead to larger joint movement all over the country, the representatives of CITU-AIKS-AIAWU-AIDWA-DYFI-SFI said they will stand firm with struggling wrestlers till justice is achieved.