The National Commission for Women on Friday asked the Uttar Pradesh Police to take action against Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad for allegedly making derogatory remarks against women on social media. However, Azad denied the allegations.

In a letter to Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police HC Awasthy, the women’s body chairperson Rekha Sharma said the commission has taken cognisance of certain tweets by Azad where he used derogatory and defamatory statements against women. “The commission has taken note of the rise in cyber harassment and use of derogatory statements in cyberspace against women amounts to serious offence under law,” she added. “In view of the above, it is requested that action shall be taken against the culprit as per the relevant provisions of law to avoid recurrence of the crime in the future.”

Azad claimed that the tweets made from his account were not written by him as he was in prison at the time they were published, adding that he “respects women very much”.

“Some tweets of hate speech on women are going viral from my account,” he tweeted. “I want to explain that I was in jail from 08/06/2017 to 14/09/2018 [between June 8, 2017 and September 14, 2018] in a case related to Saharanpur violence. These tweets belong to this period, which I do not know about. I respect women very much.”

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.

The Bhim Army Chief claimed his Twitter handle was made by “some worker” in February 2018, and he started to use it only after September, when he was released from jail. “I am a soldier of Babasaheb [BR Ambedkar] and respect for sister, daughters is paramount,” he added. “The tweets are very wrong. I am improving the account. Jai Bhima, Jai Bharat.”