HOURS AFTER Chandrashekhar was arrested by the UP STF in Himachal Pradesh, his family members, accompanied by former Congress Saharanpur MLA Imran Masood, warned the government of dire consequences if the Bheem Army founder was harmed in police custody. Speaking to mediapersons in Saharanpur, Chandrashekhar’s brothers — Bhagat Singh (27) and Kamal Kishor (25) — and mother Kamlesh Devi demanded a judicial inquiry into the allegations. They alleged that the government was “acting in a different manner” against Chandrashekhar when compared to BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal and his brother, who have also been booked for allegedly instigating violence in the district in a separate incident.
“Chandrashekhar is a young boy and not a terrorist or a Maoist. This government is anti-Dalit and Chandrashekhar has become its victim, as he has been wrongly framed. There are photographs that show him standing with the district magistrate and the SSP when the incident had took place,” said Imran Masood while offering to fight Chandrashekhar’s legal battle.
“Not just me, the entire Congress is with them… This government discriminates against Dalits and his arrest is its proof… We have warned of action if Chandrashekhar is harmed in police custody,” he added.
Accusing the police of bias, Kamal said: “We demand a judicial inquiry into the alleged involvement of Chandrashekar in the incident, as police are acting in a biased manner. We trust the judiciary and hope that Chandrashekar gets justice.”
A BTech graduate, he added: “We fear that he might be harassed in police custody, as the entire issue is being politicised.”
Asked about Masood’s open support to Chandrashekhar, Congress state president Raj Babbar said: “Imran is our leader and we support the stand that he has taken locally. But at the same time, I must say that it is not just a question about Chandrashekhar, it is larger question about planned attack on Dalits… be it Uri, be it Rohit Vemula. From creating religion divide, BJP-led governments are now creating caste divide.”
Referring to Chandrashekar as a “victim”, he added: “He is a young boy, who has been made a victim of this planned target on Dalits. Why is differential treatment given to BJP MP, who first tried to create a divide?”
Recently, NBWs were issued against 10 people for their role in the April 20 clashes at Sadak Doodhli village in Saharanpur after members of two communities had clashed over a procession in the memory of B R Ambedkar. Raghav Lakhanpal was booked a day after the clashes for allegedly instigating communal violence during the procession and vandalising the SSP’s residence. Post April 20, the district has seen several incidents of caste violence, leading to the deaths of a Thakur and Dalit.