New Delhi: Persistent drizzle disrupted the wrestlers’ protest on Monday and caused a bit of chaos even as more support poured in for the athletes with former India cricketer and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu demanding “custodial interrogation” of WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
The supporters, largely farmers and khap members, jostled for space to save themselves from the rain in the afternoon. The mattresses were quickly removed from the road and put in a corner inside the makeshift shed that was covered with multiple waterproof tarpaulin sheets.
The elderly moved inside the shed, and, in the chaos, a big fan fell on one of them.
The determined wrestlers said they will not leave the protest site and will brave the weather conditions.
“We will not move from here. We will continue to sleep here even if it means sleeping on wet mattresses. We are not going to leave,” Bajrang Punia told.
“The weather is going to be like this for the next two days but we are ready to face these obstacles.” The Delhi Police is yet to record the statements of the victims, who have levelled allegations of sexual harassment against Brij Bhushan, officials said.
Police are likely to question Brij Bhushan in connection with the FIRs, though no official notice has been served on him yet.
Sidhu spent more than two hours at the site and was seen having an animated discussion with Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik.
Later in his address, Sidhu asked why Brij Bhushan had not been arrested yet despite a case being registered against him under the POCSO Act.
Sidhu joined Congress party’s Priyanka Gandhi and Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayant Chaudhary, former Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik, former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Singh Rawat and Delhi government ministers Atishi Singh and Saurabh Bhardwaj to have visited Jantar Mantar, where the wrestlers have been protesting for the last eight days.
Sidhu questioned the police for delaying the filing of FIR against Brij Bhushan.
“To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice. Why was the FIR delayed? Not making the FIR public reflects that the FIR is mild and not corroborative to the complainant’s complaint,” Sidhu said.
“He should first be arrested and it should be a custodial interrogation. He should resign so that a fair probe can be conducted,” said the 59-year-old.
He also questioned the “motive” behind protecting Brij Bhushan.
“Intent is questionable and motive is to protect the accused. Are things being swept under the carpet? Why is the officer who delayed the FIR not being tried under Section 166 of IPC as he was duty bound to register an FIR which is mandatory in case of a cognizable offence as per Lalita Kumari vs Govt. of UP judgement of The Hon’ble Supreme Court?” The first FIR against Brij Bhushan pertains to allegations levelled by a minor, which has been registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act along with relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code concerning outraging modesty.
The second FIR has been registered for carrying out comprehensive investigations into the complaints by adult complainants under relevant IPC sections pertaining to outraging of modesty.
“Cases registered under POCSO Act are non-bailable… why no arrest so far? Is the law different for the high and mighty?” questioned Sidhu.
“Why does the man in question continue to be in the position of influence and dominance, which can make and break anyone’s career?” Sidhu said that a fair investigation was out of the question with Brij Bhushan holding the top WFI post.
“With him at the helm of affairs, a fair investigation is impossible. The nation understands that committee formations are merely delayed and deflected. The only way forward to a meaningful investigation and to uncover the truth is ‘Custodial Interrogation’, without it a fair investigation is meaningless.
“The fight is for every woman’s honour, integrity and dignity,” added Sidhu.
After Sidhu left, DMK’s Rajya Sabha MP M. Mohamed Abdulla met with the wrestlers.
“Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin has sent me here with a message that we support the wrestlers,” he said.
Abdulla spent about 20 minutes with the wrestlers.
Meanwhile, there were murmurs that if the authorities do not help the wrestlers and Brij Bhushan is not punished, farmer leaders together with khap leaders will block the Delhi borders.