Chandigarh: Leaders of different Khaps from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh who held a meeting at Kurukshetra in Haryana on Friday in support of the top wrestlers’ protest, gave an ultimatum to government to arrest wrestling federation of India’s (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh by June 9 elsethey would launch a fresh agitation at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.
It may be recalled that some of top wrestlers including Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia who alleged sexual harassment of several female wrestlers including a minor, by the WFI chief Singh, had been on a dharna at Jantar Mantar for about a month though Singh, a senior BJP leader, has not been arrested so far.
Will got to Jantar Mantar: Khap Mahapanchayat
"We have taken a decision that the government must address the grievances of wrestlers and he (Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh) should be arrested. Otherwise, we will go with the wrestlers to Jantar Mantar in Delhi on June 9 and hold panchayats across the nation," farmer leader Rakesh Tikait, who led the meeting, said.
"The cases against the wrestlers should be withdrawn and the arrest of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh must happen," Tikait said.
Waiting till June 9
Addressing the gathering, the Khap leaders said that they would wait till June 9 for the government to arrest Singh and that they would also hold talks with the government in the context.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said that the Khaps had taken five days’ time from the wrestlers who felt disappointed because of the inaction of the government on their complaints. Tikait said that the Khap leaders had also sought time from the wrestlers as the government wanted to talk to them (Khaps).
Demanding security cover for the protesting wrestlers, Tikait held that while the government had taken a step forward by cancelling Singh’s June 5 Ayodhya rally, the Khap leaders panel would hold talks with the government though their first demand was Singh’s arrest.
Stating that their agitation would continue peacefully, the Khap leaders would also hold meetings with people across the country to unite the people on the issue.
The speakers at the gathering also vehemently countered the claims that the protesting wrestlers were being instigated by some political parties and "used’’ by them. The speakers held that the wrestlers did not belong to any caste but were daughters of the country – hence belonged to all the communities.
The leaders of several Khaps including the Sangwan Khap, Ghangas Khap and Malik Khap exhorted the gathering to remain united on the issue.
Arguments between Khaps
Meanwhile, there were also reports of heated arguments among the leaders of some Khaps during the Mahapanchayat following which senior leaders including Tikait had to urge upon the gathering to calm down.
Even though the exact reason behind the arguments could not be ascertained, it was learnt that arguments flared up when some of the leaders felt that some leaders sought to divide the gathering. Another reason was said to be the anguish of some leaders who were denied opportunity to speak on the occasion.
Sports minister gives assurance
On Sunday, during the inauguration of newly constructed parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the wrestlers reportedly faced physical aggression from Delhi Police personnel when they attempted to march towards the parliament.
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur has provided assurance that the wrestlers will receive justice. However, the wrestlers have firmly stated that they will settle for nothing less than the arrest of the BJP MP.
"The government favours an unbiased investigation... All of us want justice to be delivered, but it will happen after following the due process," Thakur said on Thursday.