Bheem Army members are staging dharnas at two locations demanding withdrawal of the National Security Act (NSA) invoked recently against their chief Chandrashekhar and two others in connection with the violence in Saharanpur earlier this year. Chandrashekhar, Shabbirpur village pradhan Shiv Kumar and Sonu, a local, are in judicial custody.
While Bheem Army members have been protesting near the BR Ambedkar statue in Ramnagar village since Saturday, Shiv Kumar’s wife Sompali and Sonu’s wife Rachna, along with members of the outfit, are protesting at Ravidas Temple in Shabbirpur village since November 8.
Bheem Army’s Saharanpur zila pracharak, Tinku Kapil, said, “Some of the protesters are on hunger strike. On Sunday, Chandrashekhar’s mother Kamlesh Devi also staged dharna near her house at Chutmalpur village in Saharanpur on the same demand. She later withdrew the protest.” “Those staging protest are female members of the Bheem Army and also relatives of those arrested by police in the violence. We are supporting them and providing all help to protesters,” said Praveen Gautam, Bheem Army’s Saharanpur district president.
On Saturday, district administration officials and police visited both protest sites and requested participants to withdraw the dharna, but the latter refused. Sub-divisional magistrate, Rampur, Rakesh Gupta said, “We have been requesting the women staging dharna at Shabbirpur village to withdraw protest but they are not ready. There is no one on hunger strike.”
Station House Officer, Kotwali Dehat police station, Amardeep Lal said, “At Ramnagar village, a few women are staging dharna and we are in discussions with them to withdraw the protest.” On November 9, Bheem Army members had staged a protest outside the Saharanpur commissioner’s office, demanding that the NSA be revoked. Protesters handed over memorandum to Commissioner Deepak Agarwal requesting to withdraw NSA and returned.