Top Indian wrestlers detained as protest against federation chief intensifies

They attempted to march to the new parliament just as it was being inaugurated by the prime minister but they were halted by hundreds of police

By Reuters, AFP

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Security personnel detain wrestler Sakshi Malik during their protest march towards new Parliament building in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: PTI
Security personnel detain wrestler Sakshi Malik during their protest march towards new Parliament building in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: PTI

Published: Sun 28 May 2023, 2:31 PM

Last updated: Sun 28 May 2023, 2:32 PM

Several of India's top wrestlers, including Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, were detained by police on Sunday as they intensified their protest demanding the arrest of their federation chief over sexual harassment allegations.

The wrestlers originally hit the street in January demanding action again Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has denied allegations of sexually harassing several female athletes.


The protest was withdrawn after Singh, also a member of parliament from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, was stripped of all administrative powers by the sports ministry.

The wrestlers resumed their protest on April 23 demanding Singh's arrest and have since been camping near the new parliament building which Modi inaugurated on Sunday.


On Sunday the wrestlers attempted to march to India's new parliament just as it was being inaugurated by the prime minister but they were halted by hundreds of police.

"We respect our athletes, but we will not let there be any disturbance in the inauguration," broadcaster NDTV quoted a senior police official as saying.

"They broke the barricades and didn't follow police directions," senior Delhi Police officer Dependra Pathak told local media.

"They broke the law, and that's why they were detained."

Malik, who won the women's 58kg freestyle bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, shared photos and video of the wrestlers being dragged away by the police.

"This is how our champions are being treated. The world is watching us," she tweeted.



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