Champion swimmer Nisha Millet and star Athlete Reeth Abraham, legendary sporstwomen of yesteryears, condemned the treatment meted out to protesting women wrestlers at Delhi, and were joined by prominent historian and author Ramachandra Guha and writers Amandeep Sandhu and Sharda Ugra in demanding justice for the wrestlers who brought Olympic fame to our country, at a solidarity event held at Freedom Park here on Sunday.
Concerned citizens joined sports lovers of Bengaluru, former sports journalists and about 18 civil society organisations, expressed solidarity with India’s national wrestlers fighting against sexual harassment of women sportspersons for nearly a month at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
“The brutal manner in which our Olympic stars were dragged and bundled up is a shame. They are the Nation’s pride and politicians who enter sports should develop sports and not indulge in sexual harassment. Sports is no place for such things and perpetrators should be booked immediately,” said Nisha Millet.
“We take a stand on behalf of the wrestlers who brought glory to the country and support them in demanding justice for the victims. This should not happen to any girl, leave alone sportswomen. The minute we throw out politicians everything will become alright,” said Reeth Abraham.
Well-known author Ramachandra Guha, minced no words condemning the arrests and pathetic treatment meted out the wrestlers in Delhi.
“The wrestlers who brought laurels were protesting for a genuine reason and it was absolutely peaceful. But the paranoid, fearful and insecure government instead of protecting the athletes is protecting the perpetrators. It has dismantled and arrested the athletes with arrogance and its own MPs are left scot free.”
“The main demands included immediate arrest of MP and Wrestling Association president Brij Bushan Singh, putting out the inquiry report in the public domain and passing a law or ordinance to set-up Visakha committees in Sports Federations to facilitate complaints against sexual harassment,” said wildlife activist and former sports editor Joseph Hoover.
“The BJP seeks to re-write history. But today, on their big day, a moment of great glory - their misdeeds, arrogance and apathy towards the people of the country resulted in a grand folly. They insulted some of our finest athletes. The whole country saw the hollowness of their commitment to justice and women.
The way Delhi police manhandled and detained our Olympic, Commonwealth, Asiad award winning wrestlers while PM Modi was inaugurating his personal vanity project - the new Parliament, was a shame,” said Amandeep Singh eminent writer and activist.
Tara Krishnaswamy of Shakti, a social activist, Prakash Bare, an Indian theatre and film actor and Judo Olympian Najeeb Aga also spoke.
A Signed Resolution was passed
A resolution was passed and signed by 103 of the small but powerful gathering. “The same would be put online to continue the signature campaign. Conceived as a borderless congregation of concerned citizens, without any party or orgnisational affiliation, the event attracted sporting icons of Karnataka, writers, theatre personalities and public,” said an organiser.
The resolution read:
We, the concerned citizens and sports lovers of Bengaluru, express our solidarity with India’s national wrestlers who have been fighting against sexual harassment of women sportspersons and sitting in dharna for over a month at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
Without any party or orgnisational affiliation, we strongly condemn the official apathy towards the agitating wrestlers and appeal for a harassment-free environment in sports in India.
1. Stop sexual harassment and provide safe space for sportspersons
2. Release all the detained wrestlers and arrest sexual offenders
3. Stop punitive action against protestors.