A Silent peace protest of Shimla Citizens & tourists in front of Mahatma Gandhi’s Statue held in support of India’s top wrestlers

A strong but silent protest was held on Friday in front of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue, an apostle of peace and non-violence at Ridge, Shimla. This protest was held demanding the immediate arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh president of the Indian Wrestling Federation. The protest was joined by a large number of Shimla residents. Even tourists joined this protest in their solidarity with the cause.

Those who participated in the protest include Deepak Sanan Retired IAS and former additional chief secretary of HP, Prof Chetan Singh former director of IIAS, Shyama Dogra former judge of CAT, Mala Singh former councilor MC Shimla, Prof Amar Singh Sankhyan former VC Law University, Prof Sisham Radha HOD National Law University Delhi, Prof Vijay Kaushal Retired from HPU, Prof Rajinder Chauhan, Retired from HPU, Kuldeep Singh Tanwar, Retired IFS, Sanjeev Bhishan senior Advocate HP High Court, Jagdish Thakur, Ashok Verma, Vishwa Bhishan, Bharti, Om Prakash,  advocates HP High Court, Niranjan Verma, Prabhu Negi, advocates Shimla District Bar, Sonia, Meena, AIDWA leaders, Mahesh, Jagmohan Thakur, Kundan Sharma, Bhupendra,  senior citizens, Sanjeev Khajuria and many other young leaders.

The silent protesters were holding placards demanding immediate action against Brij Bhushan. A leaflet was also distributed on the occasion.

The CITIZENS have stated, India’s top wrestlers, including two Olympic medallists and a world champion, have been sitting on a protest at Jantar Mantar since April 23. Their demands for action against BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the president of the Wrestling Federation of India who has been accused of sexual harassment of female wrestlers, is being ignored by the government. Till quite recently, BJP leaders could not stop talking about how sports persons were being venerated by the Prime Minister. Not a single Minister or a leader of the ruling BJP has however met the protesters so far.

This is not the first time the wrestlers are sitting in a protest demanding action against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Wrestlers took to the streets in January and were assured that a committee would look into the allegations. The committee’s report has not been made public, however, reports said it gave a clean chit to Brij Bhushan. The government is not taking any action. The Sports Minister has enough time to watch movies, and appear at events, but has not met, or even talked to the protesting wrestlers. They are the same Ministers who would not miss a photo opportunity when a sportsperson comes back with a medal, and also those who have made sports a business.

Sexual harassment accusations come under the category of a cognizable offense under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in Indian law. It mandates the police to register an FIR. However, Delhi Police did not register FIR for three months, which is illegal as per Indian law, and the FIRs were filed only after the Supreme Court’s intervention on April 28, 2023.

It is strange that the government of the day does not even care about the law of the land and its implementation, nor does the police in the national capital.

The Delhi Police has been targeting the protesters, by cutting off electricity, water, and food supplies to the protest site. Delhi police barricaded many locations on Delhi’s borders to stop supporters from joining. The Delhi police also manhandled the protesters late night on May 4. Police have also detained students and others who tried to support the protesters.

The government’s hollow slogan of Beti Bachao, sounds harsher than ever, as their actions show a clear lack of intention to ensure women’s safety.

This is in fact not the first time the BJP has shielded a leader who has been accused of sexual harassment. In this case, justice is not just being delayed, it is being outrightly denied.

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