Bhim Army chief, Chandrashekhar alias Ravan, who was jailed under the (National Security Act) NSA charges in connection with the 2017 Saharanpur caste violence case, was released from Saharanpur jail early on Friday, hours after the Uttar Pradesh government ordered his early release.
Though it was reported earlier that the scheduled day of his release was later on 1st November this year, the government apparently released the 31-year-old chief two months before schedule on a request from his mother said the police.
Soon after his release at 2.24 a.m on Friday, which was met with loud chants of ‘Jai Bhim’ by hundreds of gathered supporters outside the prison, the Dalit leader lambasted the government saying that he was confident the state government would frame charges against him again within 10 days of his release. The leader vowed to “teach a lesson to the goondas of BJP” and topple its government in 2019 for sending innocent Dalits to jail.
Chandrashekhar told news agency ANI, “The government is scared that they are going to be rebuked by the Supreme Court, that they ordered an early release to save themselves”.
The shadowy leader, Chandrashekhar, the founder of the Bhim Army which was set up around three years ago in Saharanpur and has gained considerable popularity among members of the Scheduled Castes was first arrested after a month-long hunt, for his alleged involvement in the Saharanpur riots on 8th June 2017. On 2nd November 2017, he was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court. However, a day later, he was arrested again under the provisions of the NSA and lodged in jail.
He was tracked down last year through his traced calls by the police in Dalhousie, a hill resort in Himachal Pradesh. The police had declared a reward of Rs. 12,000 for any information on him.
Saharanpur violence case:
On 5th May 2017, a Dalit group had objected to a procession by the Thakurs in Shabbirpur to mark the birth anniversary of Rajput King Maharana Pratap, triggering violence, in which one person was killed and over 15 injured. Dalits had said that this denial was in retaliation to the Thakurs preventing them from installing a statue of BR Ambedkar in the premises of the Ravidas temple in the village previously.
Members of the Bhim Army had on 9th May last year allegedly torched a bus and set a number of two-wheelers afire after the administration had turned down their request to hold a ‘mahapanchayat’ in Gandhi park to demand compensation for those affected in the 5th May inter-caste clash.
Earlier in May this year, the Meerut police had arrested six Dalit youths, alleging that they were attempting to create similar caste violence by murdering an MLA of an upper caste to avenge the death of Sachin Walia, brother of Bhim Army’s Saharanpur district president, who allegedly died in the accidental firing. The Police had claimed that if the arrested Dalits would have succeeded in killing the MLA, caste-based violence, similar to the ‘Saharanpur violence case 2017’ could’ve taken place in Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Meerut and Noida.