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'True Face of BJP Exposed': Akhilesh Yadav Demands Release of Bhim Army Chief Held for Ravidas Temple Protests

The Bhim Army chief, Chandrashekhar Azad, was detained from Tughlakabad and taken to Kalkaji police station. An FIR has been filed against him for rioting and unlawful activity.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | News18@qazifarazahmad

Updated:August 26, 2019, 1:52 PM IST
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'True Face of BJP Exposed': Akhilesh Yadav Demands Release of Bhim Army Chief Held for Ravidas Temple Protests
Members of Bhim Army during a rally to protest against the demolition of Ravidas Mandir in Tughlakabad on the orders of the Supreme Court, in New Delhi, Aug 21, 2019. (PTI Photo)
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Lucknow: Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav demanded the immediate release of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and 90 others who were arrested, after a massive protest in Delhi against the demolition of a temple in the city dedicated to the 16th century mystic poet-saint Ravidas turned violent.

The protesters, who were demanding rebuilding of the temple by the centre or handing over of the plot to the community, damaged several vehicles and set two motorcycles on fire, police said. The Bhim Army chief was detained from Tughlakabad and taken to Kalkaji police station. An FIR has been filed against him for rioting and unlawful activity.

Coming to his defence, Yadav condemned the use of force against the protesters and said the cases lodged against Chandrashekhar and others must be rolled back. “The action taken by the government on the temple exposes the real face of the BJP. A considerable section of the society is upset over the demolition of the 600-year-old Ravidas temple, which was a revered site for his followers and the use of force against them is condemnable” he said on Sunday.

However, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, consciously distanced herself from the protests and asked her party members to not break any law. In a recent tweet, Mayawati said that her party doesn’t indulge in any act of violence as it follows the path enshrined by Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar and hence, will refrain from taking an official stand on the incident.

Meanwhile, the Bhim Army on Friday threatened to call for a nationwide shutdown if the issue of Ravidas temple was not resolved within 10 days. “If the Guru Ravidas Temple is not built within 10 days, we will call for a Bharat Bandh,” national chief general secretary of Bhim Army Kamal Singh Walia said.

The dissenting party member added that Chandrashekhar will not seek bail till all the other protesters who were arrested with him are not released.

The demolition of the Ravidas temple in a forest area in south Delhi's Tughlakabad on August 10, based on the Supreme Court's orders, has turned political with many parties demanding that the temple be reconstructed either at the same spot or at an alternative location. Ravidas was one of the key faces of the bhakti movement between the 15th and the 16th centuries. Hymns written by him are included in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs. He is considered as the founder of 21st-century Ravidassia religion.

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