On June 5, a silent sit-in protest had been organised by the Mumbai Pradesh Mahila Congress and the Maharashtra Pradesh Mahila Congress in support of the women wrestlers fighting against injustice being meted out to them in their battle against BJP MP and Wrestler’s Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharam Singh. More than a month has passed since the women wrestlers had moved the Supreme Court to get a case of sexual harassment filed against Singh. Even though the FIR was filed by the Delhi Police, it is the protesting women wrestlers themselves who have had to suffer through abuse, manhandling and disrespect. The said silent protest was organised at the Gandhi Statue, near Mantralaya, Mumbai at 4 pm.
The main objective behind holding the said protest was to support the protesting sportswomen, who have spent their lives bringing glory to the country, and are now being denied justice while those who have exploited them are roaming around Parliament House in Delhi. To condemn such inhuman treatment meted out to these sports women who are fighting for their demands through constitutional means, the citizens of Mumbai participated in the said protest.
The protest was attended by almost 150 people, most of whom were women. These participants were from both Congress and non-Congress background, with Congress workers being present in majority. In addition to them, groups of young girls and boys were also participating in the said protest, representing National Students’ Union of India and Youth Congress.
At the protest, many participants expressed their anguish regarding the support and protection that the current BJP government has been offering to the accused Brij Bhushan. Notably, the BJP government has refused to issue any statement in this issue and no step has been taken towards arresting Singh, even after having been booked under the POCSO Act. Furthermore, the people in attendance expressed a desire for societal change. The young people in presence expressed concern about a future in which girls did not feel safe enough.
People who had been or were still athletes expressed a strong desire to stand in solidarity with the wrestlers. A boys’ soccer team and a girls’ running team had travelled all the way from Sholapur to attend the protest. They stated how their parents are now hesitant to allow their daughters to travel, even if it is required. They relished their freedom and wished the same for all women, and were present at the protest to advocate for the same.
A couple of police personnel were present at the venue too. The police officers vehemently condemned Singh too, and referred to cases of Hathras and Unnao, both of which were cases of brutal crimes committed against the bodies of women. They expressed sadness at the way things are being handled. MLA Ms. Praniti Shinde, Mahila Congress head Ms. Anisha Bagul and other senior members from both Maharashtra and Mumbai units were also present. There was significant media, Amar Ujala, Aaj Tak, Saam and others, present at the protest.
The pictures from the protest can be viewed here: