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Uttar Pradesh govt orders release of Bhim Army chief from jail

Chandrashekhar also known as Ravan, 30, was arrested in June 2017 in connection with the May 5 clashes in which one person was killed and 16 others were injured at Shabbirpur village in Saharanpur.

lucknow Updated: Sep 14, 2018 00:07 IST
Rohit K Singh
Rohit K Singh
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh,Bhim Army,Saharanpur violence
The scenes of violence and its aftermath in Saharanpur, India, where at least half-a-dozen policemen and an additional district magistrate were injured on May 9, 2017.(HT File Photo)

The state government on Thursday ordered immediate release of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar, alias Ravan, who was arrested for the clashes between Dalits and the police in Saharanpur on May 9, 2017, principal secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar said.

Kumar said 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.

Chandrashekhar, the founder of Bhim Army — a group of Dalit youth — has enjoyed a celebrity status in his neighbourhood in Saharanpur where many consider him to be a crusader for social justice. His and his group’s growing influence in the region was seen to have been a part of a stronger Dalit voice that has risen in the last couple of years.

Chandrashekhar was accused of sparking the May 9 clashes during a protest against the police cane charge on people protesting “caste violence” in Saharanpur’s Shabbirpur village on May 5.

Police had invoked the National Security Act (NSA) against Chandrashekhar, a lawyer by profession, after his arrest. He has been in jail since his arrest by UP Special Task Force from Himachal Pradesh on June 8, 2017. NSA was also slapped on five other members of the Bhim Army, of whom Sonpal, Sudhir and Vilas were released on September 6 and 7, Kumar said. Two others, Sonu and Shiv Kumar, will be released with Chandrashekhar, he added.

Kumar said the order has been sent to Saharanpur district administration and their release was likely by Friday.

While Chandrashekhar’s judicial custody was till November 1, 2018, that of Sonu and Shiv Kumar was till October 14, 2018.

First Published: Sep 14, 2018 00:07 IST