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Investigate violence against women wrestlers: Memorandum to NCW, Police Commissioner

By Our Representative 

A delegation of representatives from multiple women's organizations have submitted a memorandum to the Chairperson, National Commission for Women (NCW) and the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, demanding investigation into alleged police violence against “peaceful protesters”, several of them top women wrestlers.
Comprising of Jagmati Sangwan and Asha Sharma from the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), Annie Raja and Dipti Bharti from the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), Ritu Kaushik from the All India Mahila Sanskritik Sangathan (AIMSS), Mandvi from the Centre for Struggling Women (CSW), Vertika Mani from the People Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), and Poonam Kaushik from the Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan (PMS), the memorandum said, there was “excessive use of force” by the police in detaining and removing “unarmed, peaceful protesters advocating for justice against sexual harassment at Jantar Mantar on May 28, 2023.”
Disturbingly, it said, the protesters, including wrestlers and their supporters, were “subjected to public humiliation, physical and verbal abuse by male police officers, groping, beatings, and unwarranted detentions lasting beyond sunset”, adding, “These actions flagrantly violate the fundamental rights enshrined in Article 19(1)(a) -- the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression, and Article 19(1)(b) - the Right to Assemble Peacefully, guaranteed to every citizen of the country.”
“Regrettably”, a spokesperson of the delegation noted, “Despite prior intimation of the delegation's arrival, the chairperson of the NCW was unavailable for a meeting”. Hence, it had to be submitted to the chairperson's personal secretary. “The delegation expresses its disappointment with the NCW chairperson's lack of attentiveness toward pressing issues concerning the welfare of women in the nation”.
The delegation also visited the Delhi Police headquarters where the Commissioner of Police was unavailable, and therefore, the memorandum was submitted at his office.
The memorandum wondered: "If internationally acclaimed sportswomen, who have brought honour to the country, are treated in such a manner, how can an ordinary woman in India dare to seek justice?"
“It is deplorable that instead of apprehending the accused, who faces multiple charges of sexual abuse under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) (POSH) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Acts, the Delhi police targeted the victims of sexual abuse and harassment. These victims, exercising their fundamental right to protest, were peacefully seeking justice”, it added.
The delegation demanded:
  1. Immediate arrest of BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on charges of sexual harassment, as alleged in multiple cases, including those under the POCSO Act, and the initiation of a transparent and impartial investigation into the matter.
  2. Prompt establishment of a committee to investigate the violence committed by the Delhi Police against the protesting individuals at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on May 28, 2023.
  3. Withdrawal of false cases against the struggling wrestlers.
  4. Scrutiny and investigation into the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) reveals a concerning lack of internal redressal mechanisms, such as an Internal Complaints Committee, as mandated by the POSH Act and duly acknowledged by the Supreme Court of India.



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