Solidarity with Women Wrestlers
Calling upon Citizens and Organisations for Solidarity
We, the undersigned Indian citizens extend our solidarity with the women wrestlers who have been fighting for dignity and justice. We call upon all concerned citizens and organisations to come out and protest the injustice, in any manner they find suitable, be it joining the sportspersons at Jantar Mantar or taking out protest marches in your own areas. There is an urgent need to amplify our demand for a fair trial, the arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, and his immediate suspension from all offices that he is holding.
The barbaric repression of the protest by cutting off civic amenities, and then attacking those who were joining the protestors in solidarity is suppression of democracy and highly reprehensible. The assault on the players and media personnel will not stop either the wrestlers or the citizens in struggle from seeking justice.
A complaint of sexual harassment by India’s star women wrestlers of international fame, who have brought laurels to the country is dealt with contempt by the police, administration, the state government and shockingly by MHA too. Delhi Police brazenly displayed their bias for a political person belonging to the current ruling dispensation - delayed filing an FIR, as is mandated by both the POCSO and POSH until the honourable Supreme Court intervened. The sense of entitlement and impunity with which crimes are committed and the accused are allowed to go scot free must be called out and put an end to.
The women wrestlers had last protested in January 2023 in Delhi but ended the protest on the assurance of investigation, that turned out to be anything but transparent. They, therefore, had no choice but to return, to ask the police to do their duty, and make the report of the Oversight Committee that had probed the wrestlers' allegation, available to them. The IOA has refused to share the report of the Committee, while its members have openly belittled the women wrestlers, accusing them of politicising their complaints.
The reported sexual harassment by the WFI chief, the then sports minister and some other coaches employed by WFI is outrageous. It is not as if the top echelons of the government were unaware of the corruption and sexual misconduct of its members. Unfortunately, all appeals to justice fell on deaf ears. We have no compunction in saying that the current ruling dispensation is providing the accused the cover they surely do not deserve - Mr Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh is an MP representing the ruling BJP in Parliament. Also, Mr. Sandeep Singh continues to be a minister in the BJP government of Haryana. (He has been a cabinet minister with sports and other portfolios; after much protest by women’s organisations, the portfolio of sports has been taken from him but he continues to be a minister.) As if all this was not enough, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has reportedly been intimidating and threatening the wrestlers - the wrestlers say they fear for their lives.
We, therefore, demand the following:
- Arrest BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, without any further delay, and suspend him from all political and government positions
- Dismiss and arrest Minister Sandeep Singh in the BJP government of Haryana
- Provide security for the protesting wrestlers
- Ensure supremacy of rule of law with a fair, scientific and time bound investigation followed by a chargesheet.
- Initiate action against police officers and the concerned DCP for brutal assault on protestors and journalists
- Respect the right to protest against injustice. In this case it means immediate restoration of electricity at the protest site, along with provisions of drinking water and security for all who are joining them in solidarity.
- Let the investigation of all charges be led by a retired Supreme Court or High Court Judge.
No. NAME SIGNATURE