At 1 pm on Sunday, farmers at the Ghazipur border gathered in a circle around a large mat placed near the stage where two wrestlers stood facing each other. Within minutes, the crowd erupted in cheers as one of the players held her opponent in a headlock and threw her on the ground.
The two were among a group of over 50 professional wrestlers from different states who arrived at the border to lend their support to the farmers’ protest.
Meenakshi, a wrestler from UP, said, “We have come here to support the farmers who have been protesting here for more than a month… Our coach invited us to come here. We are their brothers and sisters and won’t let them fight alone. I have participated in national-level matches and love wrestling; I am happy I was able to entertain the farmers.”
Hundreds of farmers huddled near the stage to see the players. Rajkishor Singh, a farmer from Punjab, said, “There were a lot of people near the stage. We had to stand on roadblocks to see the matches but it was fun. Many of us have never seen a wrestling match. This was something new and we were all surprised to see different locks and positions. We are happy that they came here to support us.”
Leaders of the Bhartiya Kisan Union leaders said the wrestlers came from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana.
Some of them have participated in state-level and national championships.
Suraj Pehelwan, a wrestler from Haryana, said, “I have family members who are farmers and these farm laws must be repealed. I came here to support farmers… They cheered for me when I threw my opponent out of the ring. It felt good. We will come here again if we get time.”
The matches went on for three-four hours, with each bout lasting five-ten minutes, after which the players interacted with the farmers and raised slogans with them.
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