Groups of Dalit women under the Bheem Army banner have begun staging protests at different places in Saharanpur, demanding the release of outfit chief Chandrashekhar and other Dalits from jail. As many as five such protests have been held by Dalit women in the past week, following arrests and raids being conducted by police to arrest the remaining accused named in various cases filed over the Saharanpur violence incident.
One person was killed and several other injured after a clash between Dalits and Thakurs at Shabbirpur village on May 5. DIG Range, Saharanpur, Kattaprpu S Emmanuel said: “Protests by women appear to be pre-planned events. Action would be taken against them if found indulging in ‘something’ (illegal acts).” On Friday morning, a group of Dalit women staged a protest at Rampur Maniharan tehsil, calling for a fair investigation into the various cases filed.
Sub-divisional magistrate, Rampur Maniharan, Rakesh Kumar Gupta said the protest — which continued for around two hours — ended after an assurance of a fair probe. A heavy police force, including women constables, was deployed at the tehsil, he added. A similar protest, by a group of 150 Dalit women, was held at Behat tehsil on Thursday. Sub-divisional magistrate, Behat, Vaibhav Sharma said the protesters gave a memorandum of their demands to him. On May 12, a group of Dalit women had tried to block the Muzaffarnagar-Saharanpur highway in Deoband. They were, however, dispersed by police, said Deoband police station SHO Pankaj Kumar Verma.
Similar protests were also held on May 9 and 10 at Deoband tehsil. When contacted, Chandrashekhar’s younger brother Kamal Kishore refused to speak about the protests. “I am presently busy with preparations for a dharna to be held on June 18 at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. People from all over the country are expected to participate in the dharna, being organised in protest of atrocities on Dalits,” he said.