Bajrang Punia asks Brinda Karat to leave stage; video goes viral

Moksha Wadhwa
New Update
Brinda Karat Bajrang Punia

CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat meets wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and others during their 'dharna' to protest against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), at Jantar Mantar

New Delhi: Politician Brinda Karat was asked by wrestler Bajrang Punia to leave the stage when she shows up on the second day of the wrestler’s protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.


On Thursday, Karat arrived at Delhi's Jantar Mantar to join and support over 200 wrestlers protesting against the head of the Wrestling Federation and numerous trainers for sexually abusing various athletes.

Upon arriving, Karat was not allowed to share the stage. Bajrang Punia, the bronze medallist at Tokyo Olympics, asked Karat with folded hands “Neeche chale jaiye please (Please get down)... We request you, madam, please don't make this political. It's athletes' protest.”

Even after repeatedly being asked to leave the protest site, the Communist Party of India leader said “We are in the fight against any type of sexual harassment, anything which demeans any section of women. So, we are here to demand that the government take strong action."


She added, “It is extremely unfortunate that they (wrestlers) should be forced to come here and sit on dharna. Any government of any colour should ensure that any complaint by any woman should be acted on and till the inquiry comes to a conclusion, the person accused should be removed.”

Olympian Babita Phogat, who met a group of wrestlers with "a message from the government," arrived at Jantar Mantar about the same time as Ms Karat.

Ms Phogat, a distinguished former wrestler, is currently a member of the BJP, which is in power in Haryana.


Supporting the protest, Phogat said “I'm a wrestler first. The BJP government is with the wrestlers. I will make sure that action is taken today itself. I'm a wrestler, and I'm in the government as well, so it is my responsibility to mediate. I have heard instances of abuse in my career as well. There is no smoke without fire. These voices are important.”

Several complaints have been lodged against the wrestling federation and coaches for sexually harassing multiple athletes but due to a lack of immediate response, several wrestlers took matters into their own hands and decided to hold a protest at Jantar Mantar.

The protest began on Wednesday and was joined by several renowned wrestlers of the country. One of India's most accomplished female wrestlers, Vinesh Phogat, who has won three gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, made the accusations public on Wednesday, sparking the protest. Despite never having experienced such exploitation, Ms Phogat noted that because of their lowly backgrounds, many wrestlers are afraid to speak out.

Several other elite wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, another Olympic bronze medalist, supported the 28-year-old.