Demanding the release of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and protesting against caste violence in Uttar Pradesh, a large number of Dalit youths gathered once again at Jantar Mantar on Sunday.
According to the police, around 2,500 people participated in the protest. Azad’s mother Kamlesh Devi and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founder Kanshi Ram’s sister Swarn Kaur were also there.
Putting emphasis on keeping the “social movement” away from politics, Devi said, “I will protest, sit on a dharna and also stage an indefinite fast till my son is released. We will fight. I have no expectation from the Narendra Modi government or the Uttar Pradesh government, especially since the violence has been triggered by the rise of Yogi Adityanath.”
The Bhim Army members are of the opinion that their leader has been incriminated falsely in a number of cases across various police stations.
“Mayawati built her entire career on my brother’s work. This is a new movement spearheaded by the youth. Whenever there’s injustice, the youth will rise,” said Kaur.
People from various states like UP, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab participated in Sunday’s rally. Bhim Army members had earlier gathered in Delhi on May 21, with Azad himself there to address the crowd.
On June 8, Azad was arrested by the Special Task Force and Special Investigative Team of UP from Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh, in connection with his alleged role in the Thakur-Dalit clash that took place in Saharanpur.
Two members of the Bhim Army were arrested in Saharanpur for their alleged involvement in the caste violence that took place in Ramnagar on May 9 after a person was killed and several others were injured in a clash between Dalits and Thakurs at Shabbirpur village on May 5.
However, sharp divisions within the ranks of the emerging outfit came to the fore during the demonstration, with the organisers pushing down a member from the dais, accusing him of attempting to “hijack” the movement, triggering chaos and confusion.
The organisers also raised funds for the victims of the clash during the demonstration.