The Congress hit out at the Centre on Sunday over the detention of protesting wrestlers by police, with former party chief Rahul Gandhi saying now that the “coronation” is over, the “arrogant king is crushing the voice of people” on the streets. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the “arrogance” of the BJP-led government has gone up to such extent that it is “mercilessly trampling” the voices of the country’s women sportspersons under its boots.
The strong attack by the opposition party leaders came after the Delhi Police detained ace wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia for the alleged violation of law and order after they breached a security cordon while attempting to head towards the new Parliament building for a planned women’s “Mahapanchayat”. The wrestlers resumed their agitation against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on April 23, demanding his arrest over the sexual harassment charges levelled against him by several women grapplers, including a minor.
Rahul Gandhi, in an apparent reference to the inauguration of the new Parliament building, said in a tweet in Hindi: “The coronation is over — the arrogant king is crushing the voice of people on the streets!” Along with his tweet, he tagged a video montage of police detaining the wrestlers. Targeting the government in a tweet in Hindi, Priyanka Gandhi said the medals on the chest of the players are the “pride of our country”. “With those medals, due to the hard work of the sportspersons, the honour of the country increases. The arrogance of the BJP government has increased so much that it is mercilessly trampling the voices of our women players under its boots. This is totally wrong,” the Congress general secretary said.The entire country is watching the government’s “arrogance” and injustice, she said.
Slamming the Narendra Modi government, Congress general secretary (communications) Jairam Ramesh said, “Today, when the prime minister was inaugurating the new Parliament house and giving a discourse on democracy, daughters who brought laurels to the country by winning medals were being detained just a short distance away from Parliament.” “This is shameful and shows the real face of the Modi government,” Ramesh said in a tweet in Hindi. In another tweet, the former Union minister alleged that the Delhi Police’s instructions came from “the man who coronated himself today”. Pawan Khera, the media and publicity department head of the Congress, said when the government celebrated the sceptre on Saturday, “we should have known that they were celebrating the beginning of a ‘protest-mukt democracy’.”
Addressing a press conference here, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate took a swipe at the inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Modi and said, “When a dictator was conducting his raj tilak ceremony, women were being dragged. Delhi was converted into a cantonment. You will follow ‘raj dharma’ if you throw out (WFI chief) Singh.” “It is a black day. History is witness that a prime minister was thinking himself to be a king. Parliament was inaugurated while women were dishonoured nearby and he remained blindfolded,” Shrinate said.She accused Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah of trying to save the WFI chief, who is also a BJP MP. Mahila Congress chief Netta D’Souza alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has lived up to its “tradition” of atrocities on women.
“Women had flags in their hands and the national flag was insulted. Action should be taken against the police personnel for insulting the national flag,” she said.All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary and party leader from Haryana Vineet Punia said on one hand, the Parliament House was inaugurated and on the other, “democracy was murdered by an arrogant government” nearby.”The detention of India’s Olympic medal-winning wrestlers from the court-approved protest site of Jantar Mantar and the removal of their tents by police are murder of democracy,” he said.
Earlier, chaotic scenes were witnessed at Jantar Mantar as the wrestlers and police officers shoved and pushed each other when Vinesh Phogat, her cousin Sangeeta Phogat and Sakshi Malik tried to breach the barricades. Police had warned the wrestlers not to move towards Parliament but they went ahead, leading to the scuffle. Vinesh Phogat put up a stiff resistance against her detention and Sangeeta Phogat clung on to her cousin while lying on the road as the struggle continued for a few dramatic minutes.The police officials dragged and lifted them into buses, along with several other wrestlers and their supporters.”They have been detained for violating law and order. We will take legal action after an inquiry in due course of time,” Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Dependra Pathak said.