Yogi govt to release Bhim Army chief India news

LUCKNOW: The Yogi Adityanath government announced the release of Bhim Army leader Chandra Shekhar Azad aka Ravan on Thursday, more than a year after the founder of the Dalit outfit was beaten with the National Security Act (NSA) for allegedly inciting violence in Saharanpur in the aftermath of atrocities against the Planned Castes (SC).

Azad was arrested in June 2017 and then NSA was beaten him. The current period of NSA arrest would expire on 31 October. The government denied that the decision on Azad's early release was taken to anticipate any unfavorable order from the Supreme Court that the Bhim Army had approached two months ago.

The government also denied that the step was to calm Dalits in UP before 2019 Lok Sabha polls after criticizing the BJP government in Maharashtra about the arrests of five human rights activists last month due to their alleged ties with Maoists.

"Chandra Shekhar, alias Ravan's mother, had made a plea, taking the current situation into consideration, the government takes a sympathetic stance and directs the Saharanpur management immediately with immediate effect," said the government of the UP.

The home department of UP confirmed that his release was unconditional. This came even when the Saharanpur District Magistrate had filed a negative report against Azad two weeks ago. In the same order was also said that the two assistants of Azad, Sonu and Shiv Kumar, from Badgaon in Saharanpur, would be released early, before their term was effected on October 14th.

"The government must now ensure that Chandrashekar Azad is not focused on his work to empower Dalits and is not imprisoned without a fair trial," said Asmita Basu, Program Director of Amnesty International. Birman had openly pledged to support SP-RLD candidate in Kairana and Nurpur through this year, who saw the defeat of BJP.

Ravan's family, including his mother and brothers, claimed that the movement of the outfit to protect Dalit rights in UP would continue.

The Supreme Court of Allahabad on April 28 had refused to make a plea from the Bhim army that wanted the destruction of NSA. After the HC order, the UP government extended Azad's detention under the NSA for three months, first until August 2018 and then until October 2018.

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