A Delhi court granted bail to Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad on Saturday, almost two months after he was arrested for protesting against the demolition of a Ravidas temple in Tughlakabad, reported PTI. Azad, who was taken into custody along with 95 people, has been lodged in Tihar Jail since August on charges of rioting and unlawful assembly.

So far, 94 of the 96 Bhim Army members have been released on bail, reported The Indian Express. “Since the co-accused persons have been granted bail, so on the ground of parity Chandra Shekhar is admitted on bail....” the court said.

Additional Sessions Judge Neera Bharihoke granted the relief to Azad on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 20,000 and a surety of the same amount. The court asked Azad not to hamper the investigation or tamper with evidence. It also barred him from the leaving the country without the court’s permission.

Azad and 95 others were arrested On August 21 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.

During the clashes, the police had resorted to baton-charge and tear gas to disperse the protestors. The Bhim Army alleged that the police had fired at protestors. Police claimed the protestors had turned violent and seven officers were injured but none from the public was hurt.

The protestors were 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. They had demanded that the government hand over the temple land to the community and rebuild the temple.

On Friday, the Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that it will hand over 200 square metre area of the same site to a committee of devotees for reconstruction of the Guru Ravidas temple in South Delhi. The bench asked relevant parties, who demanded the temple’s reconstruction, to submit any opposition by Monday. The court will hear the matter again on October 21.

Also read: Why are angry Dalits recalling a Delhi sultan to protest the demolition of a bhakti saint’s temple?

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