A scuffle broke out between the protesting wrestlers, who have been sitting on a dharna in New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar since 23 April, and the Delhi Police, in the later hours of Wednesday, 3 March. The brawl resulted in multiple detentions, alongside injuries to some wrestlers.
What Led to the Incident?
Following heavy rainfall in Delhi on Wednesday, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) politician and an MLA from Malviya Nagar, Somnath Bharti arrived at Jantar Mantar with folding beds for the wrestlers. Delhi Police, however, spotted Bharti on his tracks, citing a lack of permission.
This led to a skirmish between the two parties, with the wrestlers also getting involved. Whilst Bharti was detained at the Mandir Marg police station, other politicians and activists soon arrived at Jantar Mantar, leading to a further escalation.
What Happened to the Wrestlers?
The scuffle led to some wrestlers getting injured, including Vinesh Phogat’s cousin brother, Dushyant Phogat, who has been taken to the hospital.
Vinesh, meanwhile, claimed that drunk police officers abused her during the scuffle.
I was abused and pushed around by policemen. Where were the women police personnel? If you want to kill us, kill us. Did we win medals for the country to see this day? We have not even eaten our food. Does every man have a right to abuse women? These policemen are holding guns, they can kill us.Vinesh Phogat
Bajrang Punia called for support from farmers, urging them to arrive at Jantar Mantar to help out the wrestlers. "Delhi Police's high-handedness will not work anymore. We will call farmers to assemble here in numbers. We will not tolerate it anymore. Tractors or trolleys, whatever you get, just come here. I request everyone to reach Delhi by Thursday morning. This is the time. If not, then when? This is a question of dignity of our daughters. People like Brij Bhushan are roaming freely despite being criminals and all this is happening to us," he said, as per quotes in PTI.
However, in a video uploaded on his Instagram handle, the Olympic medallist urged everyone not to misbehave with the law enforcement officials.
All three of us (Bajrang, Vinesh and Sakshi) are fine. Those who were hurt are also fine. All of you are requested not to misbehave with the police. As soon as you come to Delhi, the police might detain you. Wherever you are stopped by the police, just sit there. Don't come at night, because they are detaining everyone now. Come after 6 am in the morning. Don't get into scuffles, exercise patience, because they are trying to get us deviated from our main objective.Bajrang Punia
Explaining the incident, former wrestler Rajveer added "The mattresses got wet due to rain, so we were bringing folding beds for sleeping, but the police did not allow that. Drunk policeman Dharmendra abused Vinesh Phogat and got involved in a scuffle with us. They started hitting us."
What Did The Police Say?
According to Delhi Police, Bharti and his supporters got ‘aggressive’ while trying to get the foldable beds out of their trucks, leading to an altercation with the law enforcement officers.
“During the protest at Jantar Mantar, Mr Somnath Bharti came at the protest site along with folding beds without permission. On intervention, the supporters became aggressive in trying to get the beds out of the truck. Subsequently, a minor altercation took place in which Mr Somnath Bharti along with 2 others was detained,” said DCP New Delhi, Pranav Tayal.
Swati Maliwal, Deepender Hooda also Detained
Barring Bharti, Delhi Commission of Women's (DCW) chief, Swati Maliwal, and Indian National Congress (INC) politician, Deepender Hooda have also been detained by the police.
In a video uploaded by the DCW, Maliwal is seen being escorted into a police car by the officers. Hooda, on the other hand, has been detained at the Vasant Vihar police station.
Delhi Police has put in place heavy barricading at the wrestlers' protest site in Jantar Mantar following the late-night scuffle.
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