Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar, who is among the accused in the Saharanpur violence, has been arrested by Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force from Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh. One person was killed and several suffered injuries after a clash took place between Dalits and Thakurs at Shabbirpur village on May 5.
Speaking to The Indian Express, a senior police officer in Himachal confirmed his arrest. Sources said that Chandrashekhar was taken away in a Innova car by policemen dressed in plainclothes. The UP Police were able to triangulate Chandrashekhar’s location after tracing his phone calls. Earlier, the Bhim Army leader was reportedly hiding in Punjab’s Ferozpur district for a few days before proceeding towards Himachal.
Chandrasekhar, who has been evading arrest since last month, had earlier this week said he would surrender if 37 ‘innocent’ Dalits, arrested in connection with the Saharanpur violence, were released on bail. “I feel the UP government has failed to address the issues of the Dalits. The chief minister has lost control over the police and the administration. There have been more cases of atrocities against the Dalits in the past two-and-a-half months as compared to last one year,” he told PTI.
“Instead of arresting the real culprits of the Saharanpur violence, the police “have arrested innocent people and put them behind bars. This has resulted in growing anger among the Dalits,” the 30-year-old activist said.
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Chandrashekhar’s arrest comes a day after two members of the Bhim Army were nabbed in Saharanpur for their alleged involvement in caste violence in the district’s Ramnagar area on May 9. “Bhim Army’s Deoband Vidhan Sabha president Deepak Kumar and Saharanpur district president Praveen Gautam have been arrested from near Sun City Colony at Malhipur Road,” Saharanpur City Circle Officer Mukesh Chandra Mishra had said. The duo was produced before the court following which they were sent to judicial custody.