Violence at wrestlers protest site in Delhi

Ace wrestlers holding a protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar have alleged that a group of drunk Delhi Police personnel targeted them late this evening when they wanted to bring in mattresses to sleep at night after the daylong rains.

The policemen beat them up and abused the women wrestlers, they said. Several grapplers were hit on the head and two of them sustained injuries. One person who fell unconscious had to be taken to the hospital.

In an official statement, the Delhi Police said: “During the protest at Jantar Mantar,  Somnath Bharti came at the protest site along with folding beds without permission. On intervention, the supporters became aggressive in trying to get the beds out of the truck. Subsequently, a minor altercation took place in which Somnath Bharti along with 2 others was detained”.

Such violence is a first for Jantar Mantar, the designated protest site of the national capital. Visuals from the spot close to midnight showed the wrestlers arguing with uniformed members of the Delhi Police. Many, on camera, identified one of the policemen who allegedly targeted them. The injured wrestler was later identified as Rahul Rao.

“A drunk policeman, Dharemendra, abused Vinesh Phogat and got involved in a scuffle with us,” former wrestler Rajveer was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.

“We were trying to set up wooden foldable beds since the floor was wet. The cop jumped in and stopped us – didn’t wait for a woman cop and just started pushing us. Some of us were hit on the head with a stick,” Olympian Vinesh Phogat said at an impromptu post-midnight press conference. “Did we win medals for the nation to see such days… Where were the women cops when the constable was pushing us around?” she added, breaking down.