New Delhi: Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’, the 30-year-old lawyer who heads the Dalit-rights outfit Bhim Army, was arrested from Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh on Thursday, sources in UP Police said.
According to police, a total of 25 FIRs were registered in connection with the May 9 Saharanpur caste-based clashes and Chandrashekhar was named as one of the main accused.
“He (Chandrashekhar) was arrested today (Thursday) morning. He was holidaying there (Himachal Pradesh),” said UP Home Secretary Mani Prasad Mishra to CNN-News 18.
Ravi Kumar Gautam, leader of the Bhim Army’s youth wing, also confirmed the arrest to News18.com. “Chandrashekhar was in Himachal Pradesh where he was arrested by a team of UP Police. They came to Himachal Pradesh in civil dress and took him away.”
“We request the administration to follow the rules and take him for medical examination and then to court. If the administration tries to skip any step, the central and state governments will be responsible for the consequences. They should withdraw the false cases…. The Dalit community will not tolerate this,” he told News18.com.
According to police sources, the arrest was made by the Special Investigative Team (SIT) of Saharanpur police set up by SSP Babloo Kumar and DIG KS Emmanuel. Chandrashekhar, who had been on the run for a month, had been hopping from one state to the next before finally being arrested in Himachal Pradesh. A source said, he had spent the last month in Uttarakhand, Delhi, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.
Police have stepped up security in Chutmalpur, Chandrashekhar’s native town in Saharanpur district, as a precautionary measure. Recently, UP Police had declared a reward of Rs 12,000 each for information leading to the capture of Chandrashekhar, the 30-year-old leader of the Bhim Army, along with two of his associates. Chandrashekhar, who is wanted in connection with violence in Saharanpur on May 9, offered to surrender to the court when he emerged on stage at a massive rally in New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.
The Bhim Army, in protest against alleged atrocities on Dalits, had called for a Mahapanchayat in Saharanpur on May 9. While the police denied permission for the public meeting, invitations had already gone out on social media. Hundreds had started making their way to the venue of the meeting when things turned sour. Supporters of the Bhim Army clashed with the police, following which; Chandrashekhar was booked by the police.