For the second time in less than a month, Bhim Army took out a protest in Delhi — this time demanding the release of their chief Chandrashekhar Azad.
Chandrashekhar, a lawyer by profession, was arrested from Dalhousie on June 8 by the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force in connection with his alleged role in the Thakur-Dalit clash in Saharanpur on May 9.
An estimated 2,000 people gathered for the protest that was attended by Chandrashekhar’s mother Kamlesh Devi and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founder Kanshi Ram’s sister, Swarn Kaur, among others. His brothers, Bhagat Singh and Kamal Kishor, were also present at the rally.
Sunday afternoon saw the stretch near Parliament Street police station transform into a sea of blue with protesters donning blue caps and scarves — based on Dr BR Ambedkar’s ideologies.
Hailing from UP, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab, the protesters submerged the area with slogans of Jai Bhim. “It doesn’t matter if I speak… my presence here is to express solidarity with the movement. I will sit on an indefinite fast till my son is released, and we will continue to fight. I have no expectation from any of the authorities,” said Kamlesh Devi.
Like the previous gathering on May 21, that saw an even larger turnout, Sunday’s protest echoed similar apprehensions over the movement becoming politicised instead of it being for a “social” cause.
Kaur, meanwhile, underlined the importance of her brother’s work in the rise of Dalit politicians in the state. “(Bahujan Samaj Party supremo) 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,” she said.