Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad was detained today at the Jodhpur airport, on his way to meet the family of the Dalit boy killed by his teacher in Rajasthan last month.
Chandrashekhar Azad was on his way to Jalore in Rajasthan when he was detained.
The boy’s killing has triggered massive anger and a political backlash in Congress-ruled Rajasthan.
The nine-year-old boy died after being thrashed by his teacher on July 20, allegedly for drinking water from a pot used by upper castes. The child had suffered injuries to his eye and ear. He died last week at a hospital in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad.
The teacher has been arrested and charged with murder. He also faces charges under the strict law that protects India’s scheduled castes and tribes.
The crime has snowballed into a political crisis for the ruling Congress in Rajasthan ahead of polls next year.
The Ashok Gehlot government is not only facing attacks from the opposition BJP but also from within the party.
A Congress MLA and 12 councillors have quit in protest and Congress leader Sachin Pilot, Mr Gehlot’s in-house rival, also weighed in. “We must put an end to incidents like Jalore. We have to assure the people of Dalit society that we stand with them. The government is taking appropriate action and will do so in the future as well. We should not politicise an issue like this,” Mr Pilot told LOKJANTA STAFF.
Mr Gehlot said he had ordered swift probe and punishment in the boy’s killing. His words did not stop the BJP from attacking his government and the Congress. “When will Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra advise Mr Gehlot to ensure justice for Dalits in Rajasthan,” the party tweeted.
Chandrashekhar Azad, 34, has been positioning himself as a champion of Dalits since he rose to the spotlight during the May 2017 clashes between Dalits and upper caste Thakurs in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur.
Azad was arrested after the clashes. Though he was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court, the UP police arrested him under the stringent National Security Act (NSA). He was released in September 2018 after 16 months in jail.