The call to arrest Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh grew shriller with more than 300 khap panchayats and several farmers’ unions joining the agitating wrestlers at Jantar Mantar.
The protesters gave the Centre time till May 21 to arrest Singh over allegations of sexual harassment against him. Urging more people to join, the protestors announced they would hold a candle march at 7 pm daily and appealed to people in other cities to hold similar marches. Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait, Khap Maham 24 chief Mehar Singh, Sankyut Kisan Morcha’s (non-political) Baldev Singh Sirsa and RLD joined the wrestlers on the dias. Tikait said, “These wrestlers are the pride of the nation and we will support them at any cost. We will continue our silent protest with them. We are giving time till May 21 to the government. However, if something happens to these wrestlers, we will gather nationwide support in solidarity with them.
Vinesh Phogat said that people’s anger is uniting them. “We are glad that the khap and kisan unions have come to our support and make us feel strong in this fight for justice.” Talking about the deadline on May 21, she said if no action was taken till then by the officials, “we will take this fight further”. She said many women can connect to the cause and hence is a fight for all the women. “Why are senior officials silent on the issue,” she asked. Speaking about the disruption in wrestlers’ practice, she said, “We are trying to continue our practice while we are sitting on protest.
Protestors, especially women who came to Jantar Mantar to support the protest, claimed that many of them faced difficulties crossing borders. Kavita Goyat (34), sarpanch of Haryana’s Kharakramji panchyat, said, “We could not come by buses as buses are not being allowed to enter Delhi. So we had to come by train. There are around 250 women who have come together from our village. We were stopped at different Metro stations and interrogated