Wrestlers Protests : What’s happening behinds the scenes


Indian wrestlers who are protesting against their chief’s alleged sexual harassment are struggling to arrange even basic necessities at Jantar Mantar, the protest site. They have already spent more than Rs 500,000 ($7,417) to buy mattresses, bed sheets, fans and speakers, as well as a generator, and are still paying rent for others.

New Delhi, Apr 28 (PTI) The protesting wrestlers’ fight for justice at Jantar Mantar is turning out to be an ‘expensive’ one as arranging for even the most basic needs is burning a hole in their pocket.

But in spite of that, the wrestlers are prepared for a long haul at the famous protest site, where they have assembled to demand the arrest of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who they have accused of sexual harassment and intimidation.

In five days, the wrestlers have spent more than Rs five lakh for arranging mattresses, bed sheets, fans, speakers and microphones, a mini power gen-set, apart from water and food.

Initially, they took mattresses, bed sheets and the sound system on rent, shelling out Rs 27000 for a single day.

Soon they realised that if they have to sit in for a long period, arranging for even little things would become a huge financial burden.

“So we decided to buy mattresses. I bought 80 mattresses from my village Kharkhoda by paying Rs 50,000. We were being charged 12000 a day for all the mattresses. That’s a huge sum,” Somvir Rathi, husband of Vinesh Phogat, told PTI.

“Initially, we had taken speakers and microphones on rent, but the one-day cost was Rs 12,000. It was too much. Now we have bought our own sound system from Chandni Chowk market for Rs 60,000.

“The shopkeeper was nice. He knew that athletes are on the road so he gave us the system on a not-for-profit basis,” he added.

A few items like fans and generators are still on rent — both at a combined amount of about Rs 10,000 a day.

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