Star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and captain of the Indian football team Sunil Chhetri were among the sportspersons who condemned the detention of the Indian wrestlers in New Delhi on Sunday.
The Indian police dragged away and detained the protesting wrestlers and dozens of others as they tried to march to Parliament demanding the arrest of the sport’s federation chief over allegations of sexual harassment and intimidation.
Among those detained by police and hauled away into buses were Olympic bronze medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia. One video posted on social media by Malik showed police dragging away screaming protesters.
“The goon who sexually exploits, Brij Bhushan, is sitting in Parliament and we are being dragged on the road. Sad day for Indian sports,” Malik tweeted.
In addition to Chopra and Chhetri, former cricketers Irfan Pathan and Manoj Tiwary, Olympian boxer Vijender Singh and Paralympics athlete Sharad Kumar also extended their support to the wrestlers.
Here is a look at their tweets:
In an escalation of the month-old standoff, police also cleared the site in central New Delhi where the wrestlers had been camped out while calling for the arrest of Brij Bhushan Singh.
The wrestlers attempted to march to India’s new parliament on Sunday just as it was being inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but they were halted by some of the hundreds of police on duty for the event.
Police also removed tents and other items from the site where the protesters have been camped out.
Security in the nation’s capital was tightened ahead of the inauguration of the new parliament building by Modi. Personnel also stood guard on the borders of New Delhi after a group of farmers attempted to enter the city to support the protesting wrestlers.
With inputs from AFP