AAP National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal has extended his solidarity with the protesting wrestlers at Jantar Mantar. The Delhi CM has also appealed to the country to back their struggle. He stated that every citizen who loves this nation must stand in support of these athletes, as they are not fighting a personal battle, but rather fighting to save India’s sports culture. Shri Arvind Kejriwal also criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi for putting an education reformer in jail while providing patronage to his MP, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is facing accusations of sexual harassment of female wrestlers. He expressed his disappointment that India’s celebrated champions had to protest at Jantar Mantar to get an FIR registered against a harasser because of political patronage. This time, another leader of theirs is at the centre of sexual abuse allegations, and their whole government system is trying to protect him, He said, adding that the message is clear: If anyone from their party engages in misconduct, instead of giving justice, they will protect him at all costs.
CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal requested the Centre not to cut off the food, water and electricity supply of these athletes. He also assured the wrestlers that as the CM of Delhi, he will do whatever he can to support them. The CM had visited the wrestlers’ protest at Jantar Mantar against WFI President and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, in a show of support to the cause. He was accompanied by AAP Rajya Sabha MP Shri Sushil Gupta, Delhi Mayor Dr Shelly Oberoi, and several MLAs and senior leaders of the party. The athletes have been protesting for several days now, demanding justice for the sexual harassment allegations against BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. The protesters are also seeking the removal of the BJP MP from his position in the Wrestling Federation of India.
Shri Arvind Kejriwal said that the wrestlers of our country who have made India proud several times in the past have been protesting at Jantar Mantar for over a week now. He added that they have had to come out and raise their voice because a leader of the BJP misbehaved with them. He further said that if any individual misbehaves with any woman or a girl child in India, that accused should face the most severe punishment prescribed by the Indian law and should even be hanged if the crime is of a serious nature.
The Delhi CM said that the victims in this case are not just ordinary women, but female wrestlers who have worked incredibly hard to bring laurels for the nation. He pointed out how the entire country celebrated when these wrestlers won medals for the nation and they held the national flag on television and had the national anthem play in the background after emerging victorious. He added that it is incredibly shameful that a politician misbehaved with these girls and today they are having to protest at Jantar Mantar to get their voices heard and get an FIR registered against the accused.
He further said that in our society it is difficult for a woman to go out of her house and build a career of her own. He also said that there are many people in society that try to disrupt the career of women and therefore for them to reach a level that these female wrestlers have is nothing less than an amazing feat. “The entire nation and in fact the whole world has seen the struggle of our wrestlers, and therefore I would like to applaud them for their achievements in the first place. I want to tell these wrestlers that any individual who loves India, irrespective of their political ideology, will today stand with them in their hour of difficulty,” he said.
Shri Arvind Kejriwal said that every citizen of this country who supports Indian athletes and wants them to do well in the Olympics and other big events at the international level, today stands in solidarity with them. He also said that every young and budding athlete that aspires to represent India on the global stage one day also stands in solidarity with the protesting wrestlers today. He went on to assure the wrestlers that they are not alone in this struggle of theirs and said that everyone who has seen them on TV is standing in solidarity with them.
Narrating a recent interaction of his with a senior citizen, the Delhi CM said that this person went on to say that earlier he was a fan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but in the last two days after watching the protest of the wrestlers on television, this person told me that what Modiji has done is not right. “He said that after watching these female wrestlers protest to file a case against a person who has misbehaved with them, I cannot help but wonder why Modiji would be trying to save a person like this. When I asked him why Modiji would be doing such a thing, he told me that it is beyond his understanding. Why would the PM order the police forces to not register an FIR against this BJP leader?” he asked.
Shri Arvind Kejriwal pointed out that the message being sent by the PM to the nation is that if there is a complaint against any leader of the BJP, then no case will be registered against the accused. “Remember what happened in Lakhimpur Kheri when the farmers were protesting against the three farm bills. The son of a BJP leader ran over four farmers and a journalist and the BJP used their entire political machinery to try and save the accused. Similarly, today one of their leaders misbehaves with our female wrestlers and the entire political machinery is being used to protect the accused. So the message being sent out is that if anyone from the BJP indulges in wrong activities and misbehaves with women, then the party will use its entire machinery to protect such an individual,” he said.
Pointing out that it is shameful that just to file an FIR in this case against the accused the wrestlers had to approach the Supreme Court. He also said that one of the female wrestlers was running a fever and still she was sitting at Jantar Mantar to protest against the wrongs of the BJP. Calling Jantar Mantar a very “sacred space”, Shri Arvind Kejriwal said that in 2011, Shri Anna Hazare also started a struggle against the then government and that brought about the revolution that gave birth to the Aam Aadmi Party. He went on to say that he believe that this struggle of the wrestlers over here today will go on to become another defining moment in Indian sport as it will go on to improve the sporting system of the country.
The Delhi CM also urged all the citizens of the country that love India to come to Jantar Mantar and support the wrestlers who are sitting in protest over here. “You may belong to any political party – the Congress, BJP, AAP or any other political party – through this stage I want to request you all to take a leave of one or two days and come and support our athletes over here. These brave wrestlers are not fighting for themselves, but they are fighting to change the sporting system of the country. Just imagine, how powerful this one individual is that it took these wrestlers seven days of protest and to go to the Supreme Court to register an FIR against him. If these wrestlers had not protested over here, then this person would have continued to misbehave with other female wrestlers as well. So, they are not only fighting for themselves, but for all the other citizens as well, and I strongly feel that they will win in this battle of theirs,” he said.
He concluded by urging the Central Government to not be so heartless towards its own sportspersons. He revealed that the government has used the police force to stop food, water and mattresses from coming over here for the wrestlers. “I want to assure the wrestlers protesting over here that I will do everything in my capacity to assist them in this fight of theirs. But what the Central Government is doing here is against human rights – food and water is a basic necessity of every individual. These are our own athletes and they have made the nation proud. They did not achieve all of this for such a day where the Central Government is stopping them from having food and water,” he said.