New Delhi: Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and his supporters were detained in Deoband on Tuesday by the Uttar Pradesh police for allegedly violating the model code of conduct.
Chandrashekhar, who fell sick after being detained, was taken to Anand Hospital in Meerut. All India Students Association leader Sucheta De told the Hindu, “The police detained Mr Azad, Bhim Army members and villagers, who had gathered in large numbers against the authoritarian attitude of the police. Due to the commotion, Mr Azad collapsed and lost consciousness.”
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met Azad at the hospital.
Congress Gen Secy for UP (East) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on meeting Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar in Meerut: He is a young man who is struggling & raising his voice, but this govt is trying to suppress his voice. I am here because I like his energy&the way he raises voice for youth pic.twitter.com/Sykprk3MRy
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) March 13, 2019
According to the Indian Express, Saharanpur Additional Superintendent of Police Vineet Bhatnagar attributed Azad’s arrest to the large number of supporters of the Bhim Army who had gathered in Deoband. He also said, “Since the Election Commission’s announcement of the Model Of Conduct, no public gathering of such nature is allowed…Later Chandrashekhar was taken to Meerut following complaints of poor health.”
The ‘Hunkar Rally’, flagged off by Azad at Meerut on Sunday, was supposed to end on March 15 at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. However, organisers said that the Muzaffarnagar leg of the rally was cancelled but the event in Delhi was on schedule.
Just last week, Chandrashekhar Azad stated that his outfit would support opposition candidates against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Smriti Irani and said, “The Bhim Army will support candidates up against Modi – from whichever place he decides to contest from – because we don’t want such a weak prime minister to come to power.”
Led by Chandrasekhar Azad, the Bhim Army was founded a few years ago to mobilise educated Dalit youth and help them in the region around Saharanpur.
After caste-related violence broke out in Saharanpur in May 2017, Azad and several others were booked in 27 separate cases. After the Allahabad high court granted bail to the Bhim Army leader, noting that the charges were politically motivated, the Uttar Pradesh government booked Azad under the draconian National Security Act. He was finally released in September 2018 after spending 15 months in jail.