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Protesters expect khap panchayat to be a ‘massive success’ | 10 points


The wrestlers’ protest has entered its 14th day! The country’s top wrestlers, who have been protesting at the Jantar Mantar for the past two weeks, demanding the resignation and arrest of WFI chief Brij Bhushan from his position, are hoping that the khap panchayat will be a great success for them.

They said it will help to get more support for them in their fight against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president. Top wrestlers are Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat.

“Today is the 14th day of our sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar. The fact is that you (supporters) are here and so are we. We want to thank everyone who sits here with us and supports us. We would like to thank the whole country thank you for standing with us in this fight for justice. We hope that we will achieve success in this fight so that the truth prevails,” Phogat said on Saturday.

A 10-point guide to wrestlers’ protest

1) Khap panchayat leaders from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan will hold a march to Jantar Mantar on Sunday in support of protesting wrestlers. The Delhi Police increased security at the protest site and at the borders.

2) Vinesh Phogat urged supporters to be peaceful on Sunday so bad elements don’t hijack the protest. “We ask the police not to stop our supporters tomorrow.”

3) “Tomorrow many people from villages are expected to join us… khap panchayats, kisan and mazdoor unions, and student organizations to support us. We appeal to everyone to be peaceful. Our success depends on a peaceful demonstration. We also request everyone who comes tomorrow to cooperate with authorities and police,” said the gold medalist of the Asian Games.

4) Bajrang, an Olympic medalist, has appealed to compatriots to observe a candlelight march on Sunday to show solidarity with the protesting wrestlers. “We request all Indians to come out with a candlelight march on May 7 at 7pm,” he said.

5) Another Olympic medalist, wrestler Sakshi Malik, said they are yet to decide the course of action as their lawyers are still working on it.

6) She said that the decision to approach a lower court as directed by the Supreme Court can only be taken after the Delhi Police has expedited the investigation and registered the statements of all the complainants.

7) “We have spoken with our lawyers. Our statements have yet to be recorded, we have been waiting for that. The police have been given a deadline to complete the recording of statements within a time frame. Once the statement is recorded, then only the case can continue. We ask the police to record our statements as soon as possible,” she said.

8) Asked if Sports Minister Anurag Thakur had approached them, she said: There is no approach from his side. He already knows our demands, so there’s no point in meeting him again. If he wants to talk to us, we’ll definitely talk.”

9) Bajrang said the two committees formed on Saturday have full authority to determine their future course.

10) The wrestlers had formed two committees on Friday to advise them on the future course of action in their fight against Brij Bhushan. “We have formed two committees and whatever they decide, we will abide by it. The entire framework of the protest will be determined by the committee.”

(with PTI inputs)

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.