Olympic medal-winning grappler Bajrang Punia on Sunday announced wrestlers will hold a mahapanchayat of their own soon, speaking at a gathering where former J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik and RLD Chief Jayant Chaudhary shared the stage.
Malik, who has of late been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, castigated the central government over its handling of the wrestlers' demands, as he urged the people to throw out the government in the next Lok Sabha election.
Addressing a 'Sarv Samaj Samarthan Panchayat' in support of the wrestlers at Mundlana in Sonipat district, Punia requested speakers at the event not to announce any decision, saying grapplers will be calling a Mahapanchayat in another 3-4 days.
"We will hold one Mahapanchayat and will give a call for that. We will decide the venue. We want to bring everyone together for that Panchayat, we don't want us to be divided," he said.
He said their battle was not for any particular caste, but for honour and respect. "If we remain divided, we cannot win." Punia is among several Olympic and World Championship medal-winning wrestlers, others being Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, and Sangeeta Phogat, who have been protesting for the arrest of BJP MP and Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
Singh is accused of sexually harassing several female grapplers, including a minor.
Khap leaders at another 'Mahapanchayat' in Kurukshetra on Friday had demanded the arrest of the WFI chief and threatened to picket Jantar Mantar on June 9 if their demand was not met.
Earlier, farmers outfits had also held a 'Khap Mahapanchayat' in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh.
The Friday mahapanchayat was attended by farmer leader Rakesh Tikait.
Speaking at the event, Malik recalled the wrestlers-police confrontation in Delhi and said "You have seen it all. My blood boils seeing this." Malik, who will be travelling in poll-bound Rajasthan, said BJP has no chance of winning from there and appealed to the people of the state to stand by the wrestlers.
The former J&K governor claimed that the central government will be forced to apologise in the wrestlers' issue like it had to in the farm laws issue.
He said farmers will have to fight another battle to ensure legal guarantee on crop MSP issues, even though the three farm laws were repealed.
Speaking on the 2019 Pulwama attack, in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed, Malik again attacked the Modi government reiterating his claim that the attack could be made possible only because the central government denied aircraft for the movement of security personnel.
"...They had asked for five planes, if these were given they would not have had to travel by road...they could have asked five planes from me, I was the governor, I would have given planes in 15 minutes, but they sought them from Home Ministry, which refused to give the planes," he said.
"The 2019 Lok Sabha elections were fought on the bodies of our soldiers," he said.
Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad said there is great anger among people against the government for denying justice to the wrestlers.
Jayant Chaudhary alleged that never before has such an atmosphere been witnessed where the government is standing in support of the accused in the wrestlers' case.
On Punia's appeal for another mahapanchayat at a later date, Haryana BKU (Charuni) chief Gurnam Singh Charuni said "whatever our players decide, we will follow and this is what we had stated earlier too."
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