The protesting wrestlers will attend a ‘mahila mahapanchayat’ outside the new parliament building next Sunday, the day it is due to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The decision was taken at a mahapanchayat called by Maham Chaubisi khap — a cluster of 24 villages — in Haryana’s Maham town in Rohtak district.
The day marked the end of wrestlers’ 15–day ultimatum to the government. The protesters had last fortnight warned of some “big decisions” if former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh was not arrested by Sunday (May 21).
“We had declared that we’ll take some big decisions today if Singh is not arrested in 15 days. It has been decided that a mahila mahapanchayat will be held outside the new parliament building on May 28 and the wrestlers will attend,” Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia said.
Women from Rohtak, Jhajjar, Narnaul, Faridabad, Rewari, Charkhi Dadri and Gurugram districts of Haryana are likely to form the bulk of the scheduled congregation.
“We urge women from all over India to join us. This is a battle for our daughters. Soon, we’ll take to social media to request women to reach Delhi by next Sunday,” Punia added.
The mahapanchayat was attended by representatives of farmer organisations, women groups, and khaps. Rio Games bronze medallist Sakshi Malik was the lone wrestler from among those at the Jantar Mantar sit-in who was present there.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait, who has visited the protestors at least twice during the sit-in, attended the mahapanchayat. “The government will try to raise allegations against the wrestlers, but we are ready for the long fight,” he was quoted as saying.