Women ‘Mahapanchayat’ on May 28 in Delhi to Support Protesting Wrestlers

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CHANDIGARH – From the heart of Haryana’s Jat-dominated Rohtak district, farmers and representative of Khap panchayats, expressing solidarity with the protesting wrestlers in Delhi, on Sunday sent out a message to the BJP government in the Centre, while infusing new energy into the protest to arrest of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Amid farm representatives from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, besides Haryana, the Sarv Khap Panchayat held in Meham town on Sunday decided to hold women ‘mahapanchayat’ at newly constructed building of Parliament in Delhi on May 28, the day it will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in support of the protesting wrestlers.

The new Parliament building will be inaugurated by Modi on May 28 coinciding with the 140th birth anniversary of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, popularly known as Veer Savarkar.

The Khap panchayat (community courts) said women from across the country will reach New Delhi on that day to show solidarity with the wrestlers.

Top wrestlers, comprising Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat, have been protesting for nearly a month at the Jantar Mantar, demanding the sacking of Brij Bhushan as WFI chief and his arrest him because of the alleged sexual harassment of women grapplers.

The Khap panchayat leaders had already given a 15-day deadline to the government till May 21 to look into the matter.

Despite growing protests and mounting pressure to resign, Bhushan Singh remains defiant of not quitting the post, saying he would hang himself if even a single allegation against him is proved.

The Khap panchayat also announced to hold a massive candle march at Jantar Mantar in the evening of May 23.

Farm activists led by Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait, who attended the ‘mahapanchayat’, told the media that this fight “would continue for longer time”.

“For 13 months, an agitation of farmers (against the Centre’s farm laws) was at border of Delhi. Now it (the Central government) will try to raise allegations against the wrestlers. It is just a beginning, we are ready for the fight,” Tikait said.

It is expected that women largely from Haryana’s Jat-dominated Rohtak, Jhajjar, Narnaul, Faridabad, Rewari, Charkhi Dadri and Gurugram districts would join the protest in Delhi.

Political observers believe holding the women amahapanchayat’ in Delhi is also a clear signal to the Manohar Lal Khattar-led state BJP government that the farmers’ support has been swelling against its government in the Centre.

“Also, ‘mahapanchayat’ is an ultimatum for the state government’s crucial alliance partner JJP (Jannayak Janta Party) that came into existence by wooing the Jats, who prominently belong to the farming community, and maintaining silence over the demands of the wrestlers,” an observer told IANS.

Earlier, several politicians, including former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and his party leaders met with the protesting wrestlers and extended their support to them. -IANS

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