Wrestlers Protest June 1

Countrywide protests were held on 1 June with the demand of arrest of BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh action against Delhi police for perpetrating atrocities on protesting women wrestlers at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Kisan Sangharsh Morcha, women’s and trade union organisations along with CPIML and other parties had given a call for protests which received a huge response in all the states and major centres.

In Delhi, many organisations gathered at Jantar Mantar to protest. AICCTU, AISA, AIPWA along with several trade unions and women-students groups gathered at Parliament Street, Delhi in solidarity with the Wrestlers Protest for gender justice. Despite intimidation and threats by the police, hundreds demanded immediate arrest of the ex-WFI Chief Brij Bhushan Singh. Shweta Raj, President of Dilli ASHA Kamgar Union and Delhi State Secretary of AICCTU condemning the brutal police violence on the protesting wrestlers on May 28 said that the impunity and patronage enjoyed by Brij Bhushan under the Modi government clearly shows what BJP stands for. We have seen earlier also, like in Kathua rape incident how the BJP protects rapists and sexual harassers.

The day Narendra Modi inaugurated the new Parliament building and India's ace women wrestlers protesting against sexual harassment by a BJP MP were pulled and dragged by the police on Delhi's Parliament Street. "The police and the Modi government may have broken the tents of protesting wrestlers at Jantar Mantar, but the people of this country are united. Every road, every street, every place will become the site that will rise in solidarity with the struggle of our wrestlers." Shweta added.

Neha Bora, Delhi State Secretary of AISA said that the Modi government now stands squarely exposed as being completely antithetical to the fundamental tenets of our constitution. While it spends crores on advertisements for 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' campaign, what we see today is that the women are trashed in the streets by police, sexual harassers enjoying immunity by the BJP and the education system being destroyed. "Today, we are seeing that Delhi has been turned into a caged city with barricades and police personnel at every nook and corner to silence the people's voices. But, the cage will break and the voices of struggle for gender justice will intensity. The students of this country are standing in complete solidarity with the wrestlers," said Neha.  

The protesters warned that in the coming days the movement for gender justice, arrest of Brij Bhushan and action against police officials responsible for the violence on May 28 will intensify.

A protest was organised by CPIML in Kolkata. Speaking at the protest CPIML GS Dipankar Bhattacharya said it's a national shame that as Modi was organising his own 'coronation', few kms away where wrestlers fighting for gender justice were being thrashed by police. Today, democracy and constitution are being smothered under the Modi government. The pillars of justice, federalism, secularism are all being destroyed. "Modi called for hoisting the national flag on houses, but on May 28 we saw what the tricolour means to BJP when the justice seeking wrestlers holding the national flag were pushed and brutally assaulted" added comrade Dipankar.

Speaking about the impunity and patronage given to the accused Brij Bhushan by Modi government, CPIML West Bengal State Secretary Abhijit Mazumdar noted that it's appalling how the entire BJP machinery and police administration are trying to protect the accused. They are ready to go to any length even if it means to beat up India's ace wrestlers. 

"BJP's rule in India has become a rule of injustice and tyranny. We have seen how the BJP ensured the release of the rapists of Bilkis Bano. Today, those who are fighting for justice are being shown as criminals by the BJP government," added Chandrasmita Choudhary. We stand in complete solidarity with all forms of struggle for gender justice.

A similar protest was held in Patna which was organised by AICCTU, many farmers’ organisations as well as some other civil society organisations. The protesters blockaded Dak Bangla Chauraha for some time. 

A huge procession was taken out in Gunupur of Odisha and a protest was held in front of the block office. A memorandum was sent to the President through this protest. This was addressed by CPIML central committee member Tripati Gomango.

Central trade unions along with AICCTU protested in front of Ahmadabad Collectorate on 31 May against the assault on protesting wrestlers in Delhi on 28 May. A joint delegation sent a memorandum demanding a judicial inquiry into the incident of 28 July at Delhi. 

Protests continued for many days and CPIML and affiliated organisations held protests at many centres in Bihar on 3 June. 

On 3 June many protesters were subjected to police highhandedness and detained in Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow. While hundreds of protesters assembled at the Parivartan Chowk in Lucknow they faced heavy police repression. Many people reached from different parts of UP including Lucknow, Sitapur, Faizabad, Basti, Benaras, Allahabad, Ballia, Lakhimpur and Chandauli on the call given by AIPWA, AISA and RYA. The UP Police detained hundreds of activists who were standing with banners and placards waiting for more people to come, ignoring requests to allow them to hold a peaceful demonstration; they were all violently dragged to the vehicles brought by the police in advance. A police officer was heard saying "if you are so adamant on holding a demo then come we’ll teach you an appropriate lesson inside the police thana”.

AIPWA UP president Krishna Adhikari, state secretary Kusum Verma, AISA leader Ayush Shrivastav, Shivam Chaudhary and RYA state secretary Sunil Maurya were among those dragged and arrested. 

A protest on the same issue was again held in Gunupur of Odisha on 5 June under the joint banner of Kisan Sangharsh Morcha’s local unit.

A protest in solidarity with wrestlers protesting against sexual harassment perpetrated by WFI president and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Singh was undertaken at Freedom park, Bangalore on 3 June. The protest saw turnout from many student organisations, workers' unions as well as civil society activists.