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Wrestlers’ Battle Turning into Face-Off Between Khaps and Seers in UP

The ongoing battle between Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and the country’s top grapplers is now turning into a face-off between Ayodhya seers and khap leaders of western Uttar Pradesh.

The khaps of Haryana and farmer outfits of western Uttar Pradesh led by Rakesh Tikait have extended their support to the wrestlers protesting against alleged sexual harassment by the WFI chief.

It was Naresh Tikait, BKU chief, who persuaded wrestlers on Tuesday evening not to immerse their medals in the Ganga in Haridwar.

He convinced them to hand over their medal to the President in protest against delay in action against Brij Bhushan.

Meanwhile, a prominent seer in Ayodhya said: “The only option left for Brij Bhushan to counter khaps and farmer outfits is by mobilising support of Ayodhya seers. Singh’s association with Ayodhya, its seers and the Ram Mandir movement is more than enough for seers to come out in his support.”

The seers supporting Singh are also demanding amendment to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

It was in Ayodhya that Brij Bhushanrose to become the general secretary of the students’ union of Saket PG College and then waded into mainstream politics while practising wrestling under the watchful eyes of the priests of Hanuman Garhi temple.

The seers have decided to throw their weight behind Brij Bhushan’s ‘Jan Chetna Maha Rally’ at Ram Katha Park in Ayodhya to make it a mega-show on June 5.

Followers of Mani Ram Das Chhavni Peeth of Ayodhya based in Varanasi, Haridwar and Mathura cities will also attend the rally.

Sinking their differences, seers of Ayodhya will come on a common platform to extend support to Brij Bhushanh who was also a known face of the Ram Mandir movement.

The all-powerful Mani Ram Das Chhavni Peeth led by Mahant Kamal Nayan Das and the Lakshman Qila faction led by Mahant Maithili Raman Sharan have set aside their differences to present a united front in favour of the WFI chief.

“Brij Bhushan’s roots are deeply entrenched in Ayodhya. From college days to mainstream politics and Ram Mandir movement, he has spent a long part of his life in Ayodhya. He was a local resident then and was closely associated with seers, especially sadhus of Hanuman Garhi temple,” said Mahant Kamal Nayan Das.

“Brij Bhushan’s clout in Ayodhya is such that seers of various factions have come on a common platform to extend support to him. All charges against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh are politically motivated and fake. We demand a probe and action against those who are responsible for this controversy,” he said.

Mahant Kamal Nayan is successor to Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, chairman of Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Tirath Kshetra Trust.

Reiterating his demand for an amendment on the POCSO Act, Mahant Kamal Nayan said: “Innocent people are being harassed by misusing the POCSO Act. Fake allegations are being levelled against them, especially seers, mahants and politicians. It must be amended.”

This demand is not without reason. After the Supreme Court’s order, the Delhi Police on April 29 this year, lodged two FIRs against Brij Bhushan.

The first FIR was under the POCSO Act on the complaint of sexual harassment by a minor wrestler.

Meanwhile, the VHP cadre at Karsewakpuram in Ayodhya, the epicentre of the Ram Mandir movement, is also mobilising support for Brij Bhushan’s June 5 rally.

“There is no directive from the organisation (VHP) for Brij Bhushan Sharan’s rally. Whatever we are doing is due to his close association with the Ram Mandir movement,” said a VHP office bearer.

Rakesh Tikait, on the other hand, said that farmers would stand in support of the wrestlers who are the pride of the nation.

“We will take this fight to its logical conclusion, no matter how long it takes. The wrestlers are our children and we will not allow any harm to them and their honour,” he said.

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