Restrictions have been put in place in Saharanpur district after the brother of a Bhim Army leader was shot dead in Ramnagar area on Wednesday afternoon. Fearing a rise in tension, police have put security measures in place and have suspended internet services. The deceased, 24-year-old Sachin, was the brother of Bhim Army district president Kamal Walia. He was shot around 12:15 pm, when he was close to his home in Ramnagar, police and his family said.
As news of Sachin’s death spread, many activists of the Bhim Army converged at the hospital he had been taken to, demanding action against the upper caste Thakur community. “Sachin was in a street on the other side of the locality when he was shot dead. He was rushed to the government hospital, which declared him dead on arrival. Our family and Bheem Army members are in the hospital,” Abhishek, the victim’s cousin, told The Indian Express.
Saharanpur reeled under clashes between Dalits and Thakurs in May, 2017, after members of the Dalit community in the district’s Shabbirpur village raised objections to loud music being played during a procession taken out to honour Rajput ruler Maharana Pratap. Twenty-five houses of Dalits had been set on fire while a man from the Thakur community had been killed. The district has remained tense ever since, witnessing bouts of violence, the most recent one being the Bharat Bandh protests by Dalit protesters against the SC/ST Atrocities Act.