Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar was arrested today by Special Task Force of Uttar Pradesh Police from Himachal Pradesh’s Dalhousie in connection with his alleged role in the violence in Saharanpur. Chandrashekhar, a lawyer, led his group Bhim Army during the protests in the district and also at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. The 30-year-old was accused of circulating messages on WhatsApp and other social media platforms appealing to Dalits to join the protests. He was also accused of orchestrating violence during which a police post was set on fire and a number of persons were injured. Meanwhile, Saharanpur police had announced a reward for information about Chandrashekhar. A reward of Rs 12,000 was announced to be given to anyone providing information about Chandrashekhar and his supporters Vinay Ratan, Kamal and Manjit who are facing non-bailable warrants, Saharanpur SSP Bablu Kumar was quoted as saying by PTI.
A few days ago three activists of the Bhim Army were arrested for collecting funds for the Dalit outfit at Shukartal in the district.SP (Rural) Vinit Bhatnagar said. Amit Kumar, Bablu and Harish were booked last evening along with several other activists of the organisation. A case under Section 153 (inciting a mob with an intent to cause riots) and Section 420 (cheating) of the IPC had been registered against them. They were allegedly distributing pamphlets and appealed to people to participate in a panchayat to be held in June 14 in Ratheri village in the district, as per PTI report.
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Clashes had erupted in Saharanpur after Dalits allegedly refused to allow a procession to mark the birth anniversary of Rajput king Maharana Pratap. Following that members of the Thakur community allegedly clashed with Dalits and torched their houses in Shabbirpur village on May 5.
The officials said the Bhim Army Bharat Ekta Mission, founded by 30-year old lawyer Chandrasekhar, circulated messages on WhatsApp and other social media platforms, appealing to members of the Dalit community to attend a ‘mahapanchayat’ on May 9 in Gandhi Park to demand compensation and relief for those affected in caste clashes.