The Uttar Pradesh police on Tuesday took into custody Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and his supporters after they allegedly violated the Model Code of Conduct by using more than a stipulated number of motorcycles in a political rally in Saharanpur district, PTI reported.
Senior Superintendent of Police Dinesh Kumar said the men were taken into custody in Deoband when they were planning to take out a procession to Muzaffarnagar on motorcycles and other vehicles. This was in violation of the code of conduct, which came into place after the Election Commission of India announced the schedule for the Lok Sabha elections, he added.
“Almost 100 members and supporters of Bhim Army had gathered in Deoband,” said Saharanpur Additional Superintendent of Police Vineet Bhatnagar told The Indian Express. “Since the Election Commission’s announcement of the Model Of Conduct, no public gathering of such nature is allowed.”
Kumar said Azad fell ill soon after he was detained and was admitted to the Anand Hospital in Meerut. Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union President N Sai Balaji and All India Students Association leader Sucheta De were also present with Azad, The Hindu reported.
De said Azad lost consciousness in the commotion after several Bhim Army members and villagers were detained. “Were all rallies and yatras cancelled after elections were declared? Or was it only of those who fearlessly challenged the saffron regime?” she asked. “Chandrashekhar was not allowed to ride his bike. Which law prevents the movement of an individual?”
The Bhim Army leader had flagged off the “Hunkar rally” in Meerut on Sunday, which was supposed to culminate at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on March 15. He had planned overnight stays in Muzaffarnagar and Ghaziabad, among other places, as well as a number of road shows and workers’ meetings. Organisers said the rally in Muzaffarnagar was cancelled after his detention although the Delhi leg would be held as scheduled.
Last week, Azad said that his outfit would field its own strong candidates against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Smriti Irani from Varanasi and Amethi constituencies if the Opposition’s grand alliance failed to do so.