Everybody wants an early resolution of the wrestlers’ issue. Seen from this angle, the deal brokered by Union sports minister Anurag Thakur with the wrestlers, who have been agitating against the Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, is welcome. They have neither called off nor suspended their agitation. On his part, the minister has stated in writing that the Delhi Police would complete the investigation process by June 15. Of course, there is no guarantee that the WFI chief will be arrested. Arrest is mandatory in a POCSO case — had the government allowed the law to take its own course, he would have been arrested the day a POCSO case was filed against him. The Delhi Police agreed to register two FIRs against him only after the Supreme Court intervened.
Although there are persistent reports that the wrestler who filed the case under the POCSO Act has withdrawn it, the agitating wrestlers maintain that there was no such development. One concession that the government has made is to show its readiness to withdraw the criminal charges against the wrestlers for trying to break the cordon in front of the new Parliament building on May 28, the day it was inaugurated. They were exercising their democratic right to protest and not committing any crime as such. In fact, it was the police which adopted strong-arm measures against the agitators. The government has also accepted the demand for a new internal complaints committee headed by a lady with which the WFI chief and his staff would have no connection. He would also not be allowed to play any role in the wrestling federation election on June 30.
All this underlines one significant point. The government is unable to promise that it would uphold the rule of law. All that was expected from the Narendra Modi government was one assertion that it would not obstruct the due process of law. Nothing more or nothing less was expected from Anurag Thakur and company. In Britain, the police had no difficulty in imposing a fine on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak when he violated a traffic law. Here, the WFI chief was allowed to flex his political muscles and even demand annulment of the POCSO law. Better late than never, let the Delhi Police be allowed to act as per the law.