Saharanpur riots: One month after violence, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar arrested from Dalhousie

A Special Task Force (STF) team of the Uttar Pradesh police arrested 30-year-old Chandrashekhar, founder of the Bhim Army group, and key accused in the Saharanpur riots case, on Thursday from Himachal Pradesh's Dalhousie.

A damaged car after Saharanpur clashes in Uttar Pradesh. PTI

A damaged car after Saharanpur clashes in Uttar Pradesh. PTI

Chandrashekhar, who had been evading arrest since riots took place in Saharanpur in May this year, had said he was willing to surrender if 37 "innocent" Dalits are released on bail. The Uttar Pradesh police had declared a Rs 12,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

CNN News 18 qouted Ravi Kumar Gautam, leader of the Bhim Army's youth wing as saying, "Chandrashekhar was in Himachal Pradesh, where he was arrested by a team of UP police. They came to Himachal Pradesh in civil clothes and took him away."

On 5 May, members of Thakur and Dalit communities clashed in Sharanpur district's Shabirpur village, after members of Bhim Army had objected a procession of Rajput king Maharana Pratap to pass through Dalit-dominated areas. The Dalits had asked the percussionists to turn off music blaring out of loudspeakers as they passed by a Ravidas temple. After the Rajputs declined, it soon snowballed into a violent clash, with both throwing stones and bricks at each other.

In the violence, 5-20 Dalit houses were torched and many vehicles including those of the police were also set on fire. One man, Sumit Rajput, 35, was killed, and 16 persons, including a police officer, were injured.

Following the clashes, Chandrashekar had called for a "mahapanchayat" on 9 May in Saharanpur which triggered violent protest. The mahapanchayat was called to collect donations and demand compensation and relief for those affected.

But after the district administration refused to grant permission and arrested several Dalit leaders, a police chowki was burnt, and over 20 vehicles were torched while several instances of stone pelting and clashes were reported.

A report in Financial Express said Chandrashekar was accused of circulating messages on WhatsApp and other social media platforms, wherein he appealed Dalits to join the protests.


Updated Date: Jun 08, 2017 13:04 PM

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