Hundreds of people gathered at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi on Sunday, protesting against the ongoing caste disturbances in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh.They were led by the Bhim Army, an organisation fighting for Dalit rights. Despite being denied permission by the Delhi Police, members of several Dalit groups gathered at the protest site.
Bhim Army founder, Chandrashekhar, was also present at the site. He is wanted by Uttar Pradesh Police for allegedly trying to instigate people. As per sources, Gujarat youth Dalit leader Jignesh Mawani and former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar were also among the protestors.
The Delhi Police on Saturday had denied permission to Dalit unions to hold a protest at the venue. “The capacity of Jantar Mantar is 5,000, and there are already several protests going on there… The permission for this demonstration has been denied,” BK Singh, DCP (New Delhi), had said.
However, the protestors paid no heed to the orders given and continued to move on with it, as many of the supporters had already arrived at the venue.
The violence in Saharanpur’s Shabbirpur village dates back to May 5th this year, after members of the Dalit community objected to loud music during a Thakur-led procession to celebrate the birthday of Maharana Pratap. They claimed that the Thakurs did not get permission from the authorities to organise the event. Following the clashes, a Thakur man was killed. Later, around 2000 members of the Thakur community took their revenge by burning 25 houses belonging to the Dalits. At least 15 people were injured in the violence.
Weeks later, five members of the Bhim Army were arrested Chandrashekhar was booked. Sadar Bazar police station SHO Piyush Dixit said a case was filed against Chandrashekhar on Thursday.