The Congress on Thursday claimed the BJP's slogan of 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' now means 'Beti BJP ke netaon se bachao' (save daughters from BJP leaders)' and also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not making an appeal to the protesting wrestlers urging them not to immerse their medals in the Ganga.
The Congress' attack came a day after the matter escalated as the protesting wrestlers reached Haridwar on the banks of the Ganga, threatening to immerse their World and Olympic medals in the river but were stopped from doing so by farmer leaders who sought five days to address their grievances.
Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat had reached Har ki Pauri to protest the inaction against Wrestling Federation of India chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, accused of sexually harassed women grapplers.
Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters, Congress MP Depender Hooda said, "These medals are their life, they represent their struggle, their families' sacrifices and the nation's pride. What kind of a cruel government is this. We want to ask the prime minister and government that why they did not even appeal, urging the wrestlers not to immerse their medals." "The prime minister and ministers who used to queue up to get photographs with these sportspersons when they won medals, did not even issue an appeal. It sent a message that they are not only anti-sportspersons but also anti-medals," the Congress leader from Haryana said.
"You talk of Uniform Civil Code, will that not be applicable to the BJP leaders, is there a separate law for them?" Hooda asked.
He also accused the BJP of bringing in caste, religion and regionalism in an issue which is about justice for daughters.
"If a girl seeks justice then getting her justice is raj dharma...When Parliament was being inaugurated, the manner in which women were dragged around, everyone saw," Hooda said, slamming the government.
"Why so much hate for sportspersons? Country is pained that the prime minister did not even appeal urging wrestlers to not immerse their medals in Ganga," he said.
Speaking at the presser, Olympic medallist boxer and Congress leader Vijender Singh said the entire episode was reminiscent of the 1960 incident when the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, then Cassius Clay, threw his Olympic gold medal into the Ohio river to protest racial segregation in the US.
He said like people rallied behind Ali they must do so now in support of the daughters of the country who are fighting for justice.
The wrestlers, who had been protesting at Jantar Mantar since April 23 seeking the arrest of Singh, were removed from the site by the police on Sunday after they tried to march to the new Parliament building following its inauguration. They were detained before being released later.
Last month, the Delhi Police registered two FIRs against Singh.
The first FIR 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 one has been registered over complaints by adults pertaining to outraging modesty.
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