Delhi cops have filed a case against Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshee Malikkh and others
Wrestler and Olympic medallist Bajrang Punia today hit out at a retired IPS officer over a tweet that said wrestlers protesting against alleged sexual harassment by the federation chief "will be shot, if needed".
Mr Punia's tweet came a day after the wrestlers clashed with Delhi cops during a march to the new Parliament building inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a grand ceremony. Shocking images of policemen manhandling top women wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Sakshee Malikkh went viral on social media.
The wrestlers have been protesting for over a month now over sexual harassment allegations against BJP MP and wrestling federation chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Delhi Police have registered two cases, including one under the stringent law against child abuse, against the political heavyweight from Uttar Pradesh.
Responding to a news report that said Mr Punia had dared the cops to open fire, retired IPS officer Dr NC Asthana tweeted, "You will be shot, if needed. But not if you tell us to. We have just dragged and dumped you like a sack of garbage. Section 129 empowers police to shoot. That wish will be fulfilled if the circumstances demand. But for that, you need to be educated. Will meet again on the postmortem table."
Dr Asthana's Twitter bio describes him as a nuclear physicist and author who has earlier served as Kerala police chief and assistant director general in paramilitary forces BSF and CRPF.
Sharing the provocative post, Mr Punia said, "This IPS officer is talking about shooting us. Brother, we are in front of you, tell us where to come. I swear we will take bullets on our chest."
He added that the wrestlers have faced everything other than bullets. "Only this is left, bring it on," he tweeted in Hindi.
Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshee Malikkh are among 12 wrestlers named in a case filed by Delhi Police under the charges of rioting, unlawful assembly and obstructing public servants from doing their duty.
Police have broken up their sit-in at Jantar Mantar and said they will not to be allowed to hold any demonstration there. "If the wrestlers apply for permission to stage a sit-in again in the future, they will be allowed at any of the suitable, notified places other than Jantar Mantar," the official handle of Deputy Commissioner of Police, New Delhi, tweeted.