BJP, Congress spar over Bhim Army founder’s arrest, release
Bhim Army founder Chandrashekhar was arrested on June 8, 2017 for clashes between Dalits and the police in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur on May 9, that left one dead and many injured.india Updated: Sep 14, 2018 15:15 IST
Hours after Bhim Army chief Chandrashekharalias Ravan was released early Friday after over an year in jail, Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress sparred over his arrest and release.
Chandrashekhar, the founder of the group of Dalit youth, was arrested on June 8, 2017 for clashes between Dalits and the police in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur on May 9, that left one dead and many injured. The violence broke out during protests against a police baton charge on people opposing “caste violence” in the district’s Shabbirpur village on May 5.
Arrested from Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh, he was booked under the National Security Act. On November 2 last, his detention under the NSA was extended by another six months.
Zeeshan Haider, a spokesperson of state Congress unit, said: “Now, the question arises (that) if he is a culprit, they why has he been released? And if he was not the culprit, then why was he kept behind bars at all or for so long?”
He alleged that the BJP, prime minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Yogi Aditynath “want to divide Dalit votes” as the 2019 general elections draw close.
BJP general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak, however, refuted the Congress charge. “We don’t indulge in vendetta politics as is evident from our decision to release the Bhim Army chief. Just see what all he had said after his release, proving all the more that we weren’t guided by political consideration,” he said.
Hours after being released from jail, Chandrashekhar said he will ensurethat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is routed in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, reported PTI.
Chandrashekhar, who had formed Bhim Army along with his associate Vinay Ratan Singh on July 21, 2015 to empower Dalits and marginalised people, also accused the state government of misusing its machinery to keep him in jail.
According to Uttar Pradesh’s principal secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar, the decision to release Chandrashekhar was taken after his mother filed a mercy application to the state government. He added that the situation in Saharanpur and other circumstances were also analysed before the decision.
First Published: Sep 14, 2018 15:14 IST