1 of 2 | Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Speaker of the Lok Sabha Om Birla inaugurating the new Parliament building on Sunday in New Delhi, India. Photo courtesy of the India Press Information Bureau/EPA-EFE
May 28 (UPI) -- India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the country's new parliament building on Sunday while protesters were met with violence.
The new parliament building replaces a colonial-era parliament. It is part of a $2 billion project to replace several government buildings that were built under British rule in Delhi, The New York Times reported.
The new building was constructed in front of the old parliament building in the city's Central Vista complex. It cost an estimated $117.1 million to complete and can seat 1,272 people. The old building will become a museum.
Alongside the ceremony was a fervent show of disapproval from protesters.
Law enforcement forcefully attempted to disperse the crowd, arresting several members of the Olympic women's wrestling team, including two-time medalist Vinesh Phogat, the BBC reported.
The wrestlers have accused Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, wrestling federation president, of sexual harassment. He was in attendance inside the building.
The wrestlers also alleged that the government has not taken their accusations seriously.
About 250 members of 19 opposition parties boycotted the inauguration, in part because they wished to see President Drouopadi Murmu lead the ceremony, the BBC reported.
The display by Modi, a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, was dismissed as "overreach."
"The president is not only the head of state in India, but also an integral part of the Parliament," a coalition of opponents said in a statement. "She summons, prorogues and addresses the Parliament. When the soul of democracy has been sucked out from the Parliament, we find no value in a new building."
Modi has argued that other prime ministers had inaugurated portions of the old parliament building. Opponents, meanwhile, have said Modi and his party have skirted the norms of democracy.
Rahul Gandhi, leader of the opposition Congress party, tweeted that Modi was using the inauguration as a coronation, referring to him as the "arrogant king."
"The coronation is over -- the 'arrogant king' is crushing the voice of the public in the streets," he tweeted alongside a video of the olympians clashing with police.