Several farmers broke through police barricades on Monday to join the wrestlers protest against Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh here even as Delhi Police denied any untoward incident at the site.
Purported videos showed farmers climbing the barricades and even dragging and pushing some of them away in a bid to enter the protest venue. Hours later, the police barricades, which were damaged during the hustle, were welded together and placed at the site as part of a precautionary measure to ensure that no untoward incident takes place.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Pranav Tayal said some farmers were “in a hurry” to reach the dharna site.
The barricades were removed to escort the farmers into the site and the meeting was being held peacefully, he added.
“A group of farmers were escorted to Jantar Mantar. At entry barricades they were in a hurry to reach the dharna site and some of them climbed the barricades which fell down and were removed by them. Policemen kept the barricades aside to facilitate their entry,” the DCP said in a tweet.
“The protestors have reached the dharna site and the meeting is going on peacefully,” he added.
Police insisted that there was no clash with the protesters and that the cops at the site were facilitating the protesters and ensuring a peaceful gathering.
“All are requested not to believe in fake news. The protestors at Jantar Mantar are being facilitated. Entry is being regulated through DFMD to ensure safety. Please remain peaceful and abide by the law,” a tweet by Delhi Police’s official Twitter handle said.
Farmers in large numbers reached the site to express their solidarity with the protesting wrestlers. Demanding justice for female wrestlers, the farmers, carrying their union flags, raised anti-Modi slogans.
Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi also joined the protesters and addressed them. Taking to Twitter, she shared pictures from the protest site and demanded justice for the wrestlers. “In solidarity with our women wrestlers. Justice needs to be served, the GoI should stop shielding the accused,” she tweeted.
In a statement, Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) said thousands of farmers gathered at Bangla Sahib Gurudwara around 11 am and marched on foot towards Jantar Mantar.
Farmer leaders said they stand united with the wrestlers and that they will work under the leadership of protesting wrestlers. Today they will have to fight to save the honour of the daughters of this nation as well as their agriculture at the same time, the leaders said.
“A case under the POCSO Act has been registered against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Singh. Yet he has not been called by Delhi Police for questioning. He is being shielded by BJP leaders. These female wrestlers are our daughters and we will fight for their honour,” a farmer leader said.
The wrestlers are on a sit-in at Jantar Mantar since April 23 demanding action against the WFI chief over allegations of sexual harassment against him. In last week of April, Delhi Police registered two FIRs in connection with the sexual harassment allegations levelled by women wrestlers against Singh. The first FIR pertains to allegations levelled by a minor which has been registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act along with relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code concerning outraging modesty, according to a police officer.
The second FIR has been registered for carrying out comprehensive investigations into the complaints by adult complainants under relevant IPC sections pertaining to outraging of modesty, the officer said, adding investigation into both the FIRs was being taken up in right earnest.
Delhi Police has recorded statements of all the seven complainants in the case, including the minor girl.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)