Ravidas Temple Protest: Azad & Others Get 14-Day Judicial Custody

The Dalit leader and around 95 others were detained on Wednesday night from Tughlaqabad area after a protest.

Updated22 Aug 2019, 11:20 PM IST
4 min read

Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad and the 95 others, arrested on the charges of rioting and unlawful assembly, have been sent to 14-day judicial custody after a hearing was held at Kalkaji Police Station. The 96 are being transported to various prisons in Delhi such as the Tihar Jail and the Rohini Jail.

Ravidas Temple Protest: Azad & Others Get 14-Day Judicial Custody
(Photo: Anthony S Rozerio)

According to an advocate for the arrested, a bail plea will be moved in court on Friday.

Delhi Police arrested Azad and the others on Thursday, 22 August, after they were detained in Tughlaqabad on Wednesday night after a protest by Dalits against the demolition of a Ravidas temple turned violent. Reports say police had resorted to "mild lathi charge" and tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Proceedings at Kalkaji PS

Azad was supposed to be produced before Delhi’s Saket court on Thursday, but the authorities were reportedly wary that there might be commotion at the court complex. Hence, a decision was taken to conduct the hearing at the police station, where the party was presented before a judge and court proceedings were held.

At the Kalkaji police station, the judge listened to each of the 96 people who were arrested on an individual basis — a process which took almost four hours to complete. Since the hearing was conducted inside the police station, media persons were not allowed anywhere near the makeshift courtroom.

FIR Registered on Multiple Charges

An FIR has been registered against the arrested on charges of rioting, unlawful assembly, voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty, causing damage to public property, among others.

Devesh Srivastava, joint commissioner of police, Southern range said police are maintaining vigil in the area and monitoring the situation.

The protesters on Wednesday turned violent when police did not allow them to proceed to the site of the temple demolished by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on 10 August on the orders of the Supreme Court. According to police, the protesters set fire to two motorcycles, and vandalised cars and a police vehicle. A few policemen were also injured in the incident.

The protesters have been demanding that the government hand over the plot of land in Tughlaqabad to the community and rebuild the temple.

Meanwhile, Legislative Assembly of Delhi, in its meeting on Thursday, resolved that "the Government of NCT of Delhi should construct a magnificent Ravidas Mandir at the same site after the Centre allots the land", ANI reports said.

BSP Distances Itself From Dalit Protest

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), on Thursday, distanced itself from the violent Dalit protest in New Delhi's Tughlakabad area over the demolition of a Ravidas temple, stressing that all its struggles do not breach the law in any manner.

Taking to Twitter, BSP President Mayawati said, "The incidents of vandalism that have taken place in Delhi, especially in Tughlakabad, are unfair and the BSP has nothing to do with it. The BSP always respects the Constitution and the law. The struggles of the party are carried out well within the ambit of law."

In another related tweet, Mayawati said, "The tradition of BSP and its people not to take the law in their hands is completely intact even today, whereas it is common for other parties and organisations. We should not harm innocent people in the honour of our saints, gurus and great men."

She advised party worked not to violate Section 144 of the CrPC after any "unfortunate incident". "Do not not try to forcibly go to the incident site so as not to give the government an opportunity to take an autocratic and vindictive action," she tweeted.

Solution to This Lies Only With the Centre: Delhi CM

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal offered to swap 100 acres of land for the plot in Tughalakbad where a Ravidas temple was demolished, while the Delhi Assembly passed a resolution demanding that the Centre issue an ordinance in this regard.

Participating in a discussion over the issue in the House, Kejriwal said the Centre holds the key to resolving the matter.

“Some people say it’s forest land. If the DDA gives this four-five acres of land to Ravidas samaj, the Delhi government will give the Centre 100 acres of land for forest development. Solution to this lies only with the Centre.”
Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Chief Minister 

"It's a matter of faith of crores of people. The place is associated with Ravidas, it has got his vibrations. The matter has become a subject of petty politics," he added

The chief minister said all parties should work for construction of the temple.

“Around 12-15 crore people want the Centre to allocate this four-five acres of land for the temple,” he claimed.

Kejriwal further said the issue could be solved either by exploring the possibility of seeking review of the Supreme Court order or by the way of the Centre issuing an ordinance for allotting the land to build the temple.

“I assure the House that the Delhi government will build a grand temple on the plot if it is given by the Centre.”
Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Chief Minister 

Mamata Shocked Over Demolition of Temple

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed shock over the demolition of a Guru Ravidas temple in New Delhi.

Banerjee said she could understand the Dalits' anguish since the Guru himself had visited the temple and stayed there.

(With inputs from ANI and PTI)

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Published: 22 Aug 2019, 11:06 AM IST
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