Saharanpur: Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad alias Ravan was released from jail on Friday. On his release, he said, “The government was so scared that they are going to be rebuked by the Supreme Court that they ordered an early release to save themselves. I’m confident that they’ll frame some charges against me within ten days.” He added, “I’ll ask my people to throw the BJP out of power in 2019.” (Also read: HC Reserves Verdict on Petition Challenging Bhim Army Chief’s Detention)
Ravan had been sent to jail last year in connection with 2017 Saharanpur caste violence case and was booked under National Security Act (NSA). Dalits had clashed with Rajputs in Shabbeerpur (Saharanpur) on May 2 last year, after a dispute arose over loud music being played during a Maharana Pratap Jayanti procession. One man was killed, 16 people were injured and around 25 houses were burnt in the subsequent inter-caste clashes.
Only this week, the Supreme Court had sought a response from the Uttar Pradesh government on a plea filed by Ravan challenging his detention under NSA. The NSA provisions were invoked against Ravan almost six months after his arrest. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud considered the submissions of senior advocate Colin Gonsalves that the Bhim Army chief had been in jail without any relief and issued the notice to the state government. The petition claimed that the fundamental rights of Ravan had been violated.
Azad, accused of rioting, was arrested from Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh on June 8, 2017, by a Special Task Force (STF) team of the Uttar Pradesh police. Reports had suggested that the state government had ordered an early release of Ravan and that he would be released on November 1.
Earlier, Amnesty International India had demanded an immediate release of Ravan. “Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’ has been languishing in prison for the last one year. Keeping him behind bars under repressive administrative detention laws shows that the Uttar Pradesh government would rather stifle dissent than address serious human rights concerns,” Programmes Director at Amnesty International India Asmita Basu had said.