The Uttar Pradesh government has ordered the release of Dalit rights activist and Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, who was arrested in connection with the 2017 violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur, News18 reported on Thursday. He was to be released on November 1.
In a statement, the state government said the decision was taken on sympathetic grounds in view of Azad’s mother and the “current situation”, The Hindu reported. However, no further details were provided.
Several incidents of caste violence were reported from Saharanpur district in May 2017. On May 23, one person was killed and at least two others were injured in clashes. In June 2017, the Uttar Pradesh Police had arrested Azad in connection with the violence.
On November 2, 2017, the Allahabad High Court granted Azad and three others bail saying the charges against them were politically motivated. A day later, the Uttar Pradesh government slapped the National Security Act against the Dalit leader, and five others.
The NSA allows the state to keep an accused in preventive detention for up to a year, and following that, the freedom to issue another order of preventive detention.
The Bhim Army is an organisation committed to the upliftment of the Dalit community in Western Uttar Pradesh.