Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and 95 others were on Thursday sent to 14-day judicial custody on charges of rioting and unlawful assembly, The Quint reported. This came a day after clashes broke out between the police and Dalit protestors during a demonstration against the demolition of the Ravidas temple in Tughlakabad locality. The Delhi Development Authority had demolished the temple on August 10 based on the orders of the Supreme Court.
Those arrested were reportedly being transported to various prisons in Delhi such as the Tihar Jail and the Rohini Jail.
Azad was not produced before the Saket court in Delhi on Thursday as the authorities were cautious about protests at the court complex. The accused were presented before a judge and court proceedings were conducted at the Kalkaji police station.
The hearing took almost four hours to finish as the judge heard each of the 96 accused individually.
Delhi Assembly adopts resolution to rebuild shrine
Meanwhile, the Delhi Legislative Assembly on Thursday adopted a resolution to reconstruct a Ravidas temple at the same site after the Centre allocates the land, ANI reported.
“This House resolves that the Central Government has badly mishandled the issue by not supporting their cause in the court of law which finally led to its unjustified and unfortunate demolition,” a statement of the resolution on the matter said.
“This House also resolves that the Government of NCT of Delhi should construct a magnificent Ravidas Mandir at the same site after the Centre allots the land,” the resolution said. “It is a historically significant site where Saint Ravidas himself had visited and lived for some time and forms a part of Dalit struggle for identity and rights,” it added.
The protest on Wednesday had turned violent as several Dalit groups marched towards the temple, and allegedly resorted to stone-pelting and attacked policemen who had resorted to force to contain the crowd. Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad was detained along with 50 others in Delhi.
The protestors on Wednesday gathered under the banner of the Akhil Bharatiya Sant Shiromani Guru Ravidas Mandir Sanyukta Sanrakhshan Samiti, an umbrella body of Dalit groups formed for the temple movement. However, the convenor of the Dalit group on Thursday said the march to the disputed site in the area was a personal decision of a few people. Ahosk Bharti told PTI that they had given a call for a peaceful protest in the Ramlila Maidan, but some people decided to proceed to the disputed site. “Some people become emotional Wednesday evening and the protest took a violent turn,” he said.
Last week, protests broke out in several parts of Punjab’s Doaba region after the temple was razed.
The Delhi Development Authority has said the temple was built on forest land. On Monday, the Supreme Court had said that its order approving the demolition of a 500-year-old Ravidas temple in Tughlakabad should not be given a “political colour”.
The members of the Ravidas or Ravidassia community are Dalits, and form an offshoot of Sikhism. They follow Ravidas, whose teachings are also mentioned in the Guru Granth Sahib.
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