regular-article-logo Friday, 29 September 2023

Residents of Narendra Modi's adopted village in Varanasi organise sit-in to support women wrestlers

'If he cannot protect international players, how will he protect the upcoming rural women players?'

Piyush Srivastava Lucknow Published 08.05.23, 06:32 AM
Narendra Modi campaigns in Mysore on Sunday.

Narendra Modi campaigns in Mysore on Sunday. PTI picture

Residents of a village in Varanasi that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has adopted organised a sit-in on Sunday to express support for the women wrestlers protesting in Delhi and to “tell Modi not to support an offender”.

“We have assembled here (in Nagepur village) under the banner of the Lok Samiti Ashram (a social organisation that works for the poor) to tell Modi not to support an offender,” dharna convener Nandlal Master told reporters.


“The Prime Minister represents the holy city of Varanasi in Parliament and should support the innocent players (wrestlers). If he cannot protect international players, how will he protect the upcoming rural women players?”

Modi had in his capacity as MP adopted Nagepur, a village in his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi, after winning the 2014 election.

Some of India’s top women wrestlers, supported by their male peers, have been protesting in the open in Delhi since April 23 against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, whom they accuse of sexual harassment.

The wrestlers want Modi to ensure that Singh, a BJP Lok Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh, is suspended as WFI chief and arrested. Delhi police, who report to the Centre, have registered an FIR on the Supreme Court’s prodding but have not made an arrest, saying an inquiry is on.

Members of the Bhagat Singh Student Morcha too organised a dharna in support of the wrestlers before a Vishwanath temple on the Banaras Hindu University campus. They said they would organise a district-wide procession against Modi and Singh if the government continues to delay action against the WFI chief.

“Modi is signalling that there are two sets of rules for the same offence in the country. A rich and powerful man is protected by the government whereas a common man is sent to jail quickly without any inquiry,” Adarsh Kumar, a Morcha member, said. “Modi and his men are running the government as if India is their personal fief. We will fight against this attitude.” The Morcha has started a signature campaign across Varanasi district to mount pressure on Modi to act against Singh.

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