Saharanpur violence: Bhim Army founder Chandrasekhar Azad may be granted bail soon
His release would be jeopardised only if the UP government invokes NSA against him, his lawyer told National Herald
The founder of the Bhim Army and face of Dalit assertion in Saharanpur, Chandrasekhar Azad, is expected to be released soon from the jail as he has been granted bail in the case which included serious charges. Some cases are still pending but bail application has been moved already and his lawyers expect positive outcome.
“Though, five cases mostly related to IT Act, are pending. We hope to get bail in all these cases in next hearing on Sep 18 and 19. We are expecting that Azad will be released soon” told Azad’s lawyer Harpal Singh Jeevan over the phone from Saharanpur.
“His release would be jeopardised only if the UP government invokes The National Security Act (NSA) against him. How can he be blamed for violence? He was not even present at the site of violence. On the day when the Shabbirpur incident took place, he was in his village of Fatehpur Chhutmalpur which is 25 kilometres away from Saharanpur,” he said while questioning the investigation and role of the UP police.
After evading arrest for over one month after Saharanpur violence, Azad was arrested on June 9 from a hill resort in Himachal Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh police slapped as many as 40 cases against him. Later all cases were merged into six cases under various sections such as sections 147 (Punishment for rioting), 307(Attempt to murder), 436 (Mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy property) of Indian Penal Code.
Dalit activist and member of Arakshan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti (ABSS) Randheer Singh accused UP police of acting under political pressure in this case. “Charges against Azad were framed to appease the ruling party. Police arrested many innocent Dalit youths as well. We are happy that most of them have been granted bail by the court,” he said from Saharanpur.
As many as 27 Dalits were arrested of whom 25 have been granted bail by the court. Upkar, 25 years old, told National Herald that he was arrested from the Saharanpur railway station with his friend when he was going to visit his sister on May 9. “I was falsely implicated. I was jailed for 60 days for no reason. Who will take the responsibility for the mental trauma which I have gone through,” he asked over phone.
To protest killings and atrocities against Dalits, Azad led Bhim Army to organise a protest on May 9 in Saharanpur that resulted in a scuffle and subsequent arrest of many innocent Dalit youths.
It is important to remember that Saharanpur protest was organised to oppose the Shabbirpur incident where many Dalits were killed and their houses burnt down by upper caste Thakurs following a clash between two communities on April 20 which happened birth anniversary of Baba Saheb Ambedkar.
National Herald had earlier reported that Phoolan Devi’s assailant Sher Singh Rana was one of the Thakur leaders who instigated violence against Dalits on April 20. Out on bail, he was allowed to take part in a Thakur rally organised in a nearby village Simlala at Maharana Pratap Degree College. It was this rally where Thakurs allegedly made announcement on loudspeakers to attack Dalits in Shabbirpur village.
- Phoolan Devi
- Shabbirpur village
- Bhim Army
- Chandrasekhar Azad
- Sher Singh Rana
- Maharana Pratap Degree College
- Aarakshan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti