The protesting wrestlers said late on Saturday evening that there was a lot of “pressure” to call off the Mahila Mahapanchayat they have planned in front of the new Parliament building on Sunday, but they will go ahead with the “peaceful” march come what may.
The agitating wrestlers, demanding the arrest of former Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Singh who they alleged sexually harassed several women grapplers, had given a call for a Mahila Mahapanchayat on Sunday, the day the new Parliament building will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The likes of Olympic medallists Bajranj Punia, Sakshi Malik and Asian Games gold winner Vinesh Phogat said that any amount of force will not deter them from going ahead with the peaceful march.
The administration has given them the permission to take out the march from Jantar Mantar to the new Parliament building.
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“We will go ahead with the Mahila Mahapanchayat, come what may. Our supporters have been stopped at a gurudwara in Ambala where they were supposed to stay tonight. It has now been converted into a cantonment,” alleged Vinesh.
The wrestlers, in the run-up to the Mahapanchayat, have toured several cities in north India urging womenfolk and khaps to lend their support to their protest.
Vinesh added that even if force is used on them on Sunday, the march will remain peaceful.
“Wherever we are stopped, we will sit there and have the Mahapanchayat.”
She alleged that raids were being conducted at the houses of people supporting them.
“There have been raids at the house of our supporters but the women supporters will reach Delhi for the Mahapanchayat.”
The Jantar Mantar, the site of the protest for more than a month now, looked virtually out of bounds with a huge posse of police personnel keeping a close watch on the wrestlers and their supporters.
“It’s a really difficult (situation). We don’t know what the future holds for us. Whether we will be alive or dead,” said Vinesh, who cried inconsolably during the press conference.
“We wanted justice but something else is happening. Our supporters are being harassed as if we are criminals and not Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh,” she added.
The grapplers refused to take any questions from the media.
On Friday, Vinesh had said said if Brij Bhushan attends the inauguration of the new Parliament building on Sunday, it will send a clear message about the state of affairs in the country.
“If Brij Bhushan is there at the new Parliament on May 28, then the whole country will automatically get the message,” Vinesh had said when asked what kind of message it will convey if WFI chief is present during the inauguration.
“Whosoever is trying to save Brij Bhushan, is against us. I don’t know what is happening internally in the government but someone is trying to shield him and it is not right, he is harming the women of this country.”