With eye on 2019 polls, Adityanath government decides to free jailed Dalit leader Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’

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Human rights body Amnesty India has claimed a huge victory after the Uttar Pradesh government decided to release the jailed Dalit leader Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan.’

Chandrashekhar Azad

This was after the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh decided revoke the dreaded National Security Act filed against Azad, the young leader of Bhim Army. Azad was booked under the NSA for Saharanpur voilence in May 2017 and has been in jail since then.

Reacting to the development, Amnesty India’s boss, Aakar Patel wrote, “I met Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’ earlier this week and his release is a relief to everyone who is working for Dalit rights, it’s a tremendous victory for human rights! The UP government now must ensure that he is not targeted and is not incarcerated again without a fair trial.”

In its official tweet, Amnesty India called the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to release Bhim Army leader ‘a massive win’ for human rights in India.

Many on social media were quick to link the development to the next year’s crucial Lok Sabha polls, where the Dalit votes will play a key role in deciding the electoral fortune of India’s political parties.

Many felt that the BJP was nervous about its track record of the last four years, a period that saw an alarming rise in violence against the Dalit community.

Azad, a lawyer by profession, had co-founded the Bhim Army or the Bhim Army Bharat Ekta Mission. He was arrested last year after widespread violence in Saharanpur district. The violence had erupted after Dalits objected to the use of loud music by the upper caste Hindus during a procession to honour Rajput ruler Maharana Pratap. During the violence, 24 Dalit houses were set on fire.

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