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Khap Mahapanchayat announces women’s panchayat in front of Parliament on May 28

Vinesh Phogat greets supporters during the wrestlers protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on May 21, 2023.
| Photo Credit: ANI

The khap ‘mahapanchayat’ on May 21 decided that the women supporting the protest against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh will hold a panchayat in front of the new Parliament building on May 28, the day the newly-built edifice will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The leaders of khap panchayats met in Rohtak on a day when a “major decision” was anticipated but after hours of deliberations, the came out with the decision to move to the Parliament.

From among the protesting wrestlers Sakshi Malik and her husband Satyawart Kadiyan attended the mahapanchayat while Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat stayed back at the protest site at Jantar Mantar.

“They have taken four decisions. The women’s panchayat will be held right before the Parliament building on May 28. On May 23 we will hold candle light march from Jantar Mantar to India Gate. The Mahapanchayat reiterated its demand of the arrest of Brij Bhushan and it was promised that on wrestlers’ call, khaps would reach the protest site within five hours of the call,” Punia elaborated.

“We welcome this decision by the Mahapanchayat,” said Punia, who was asked if the wrestlers are satisfied with the move.

“Whether the men’s supporters will accompany the women or not, will be decided later,” he said.

The decision means that the wrestlers have made up their mind to stretch their fight against WFI chief, who they have accused of sexual exploitation of several women grapplers.

The IOA’s ad-hoc panel which is tasked with running the affairs of the Wrestling Federation of India is likely to organise the Asian Games trials around June 20.

The protesting wrestlers are hardly getting any time to practice and it will be extremely difficult for them to counter their competitors in their respective categories if at all they decide to appear in the trials.

“I am willing to even sacrifice even an Olympic medal in this fight,” said Punia, who won a bronze at the Tokyo Games.

A 31-member committee, including farmers and khap leaders, was formed to chalk out plans on behalf of the wrestlers while a nine-member committee was formed to guide them on decisions related to the sport.

The Delhi Police has filed two FIRs against Brij Bhushan, who is a BJP MP from Kaiserganj, after the wrestlers moved the Supreme Court.

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