Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 29 November 2023 11.47 PM IST

Amit Shah's screenplay in stopping wrestlers strike


NEW DELHI: Wrestlers' strike ended for the time being without assurances of arresting BJP MP and wrestling federation president Brijbhushan Sharan Singh on sexual harassment charges because of political moves and pressure tactics led by Union Home Minister Amit Shah himself.

The Center realized that the support of the Congress, farmers' organizations and Khap Panchayat for the second phase of the strike, which began on April 23, was dangerous and would become a problem like the farmers' strike.

The protest also took on a caste politics face as a fight between Brijbhushan, a member of the Thakur community in Uttar Pradesh, and wrestlers from the Jat community in Haryana. The campaign intensified that the BJP government was protecting Brijbhushan, a member of the Thakur community, and insulting wrestlers belonging to the Jat community. BJP saw that this would create major backlashes, including in the Rajasthan elections. Police had to register an FIR against Brijbhushan, prompting an urgent solution as the strike intensified with sexual complaints, including that of a minor wrestler.

Amit Shah directly intervened after the Karnataka election rush. The initial objective was to avoid the protest of wrestlers on the inauguration day of the new Parliament, but BJP did not want to anger the Thakur community by taking immediate action against Brijbhushan as well. Hence the wrestlers were asked for more time. The protest of the wrestlers who did not accept this resulted in a clash with the police. The fact that the players were about to throw their medals into the Ganges put more pressure on the Centre.

The minor wrestler's father decided to withdraw the complaint in the subsequent days. The father explained that Brijbhushan had not sexually molested her and that he filed the complaint out of anger at losing his daughter's opportunity. At the same time, he revealed that he was threatened by many people. The POCSO case against Brijbhushan weakened after the sexual complaint was withdrawn.

Sakshi Malik, who is on the frontline, is a Sports Officer in the Sports Ministry. Bajrang Poonia and Vinesh Phogat are in the post of Officer on Special Duty (Sports) in Railways. There was pressure from the railways on them for staying away during the strike. With this, they came back to work. Then came the signal that the protesters were yielding to the government.

Last Saturday, Amit Shah directly discussed with the wrestlers and later on his suggestion, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur called off the strike for the time being. The Center tried to take the wrestlers into confidence without the influence of farmer leaders and political parties.

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