Amnesty International, Bhim Army demands Dalit activist’s release

Lucknow, June 7 (IANS) Amnesty International India and Bhim Army on Thursday demanded that the Uttar Pradesh government release Dalit activist Chandrashekhar Azad from administrative detention under the provisions of the National Security Act (NSA).

“Chandrashekhar Azad has been languishing in prison for the past one year. Keeping him behind bars under repressive administrative detention laws shows that the Uttar Pradesh government would rather stifle dissent than address serious human rights concerns,” said Amnesty International India Programmes Director Asmita Basu.

Both the organisations said Azad has been denied a fair trial.

He was first arrested for his alleged involvement in Saharanpur riots on June 8, 2017. On November 2, 2017, the Allahabad High Court granted him bail.

However, a day later, he was arrested again under the provisions of the NSA.

On April 27 this year, the Allahabad High Court dismissed Azad’s plea seeking to quash his detention order under the NSA.

Reacting to the court order, Basu said: “It is essential for courts to protect fair trial guarantees of all persons and ensure that the criminal justice system is not undermined.”

Bhim Army President Vinay Ratan Singh said state authorities had sought the group’s help in maintaining peace during Saharanpur riots but now the authorities are saying that if he is released, he will create a law and order problem.

“The state government has done everything to keep Azad in jail. What crime has he committed,” he asked.

Amnesty also said that over 140,000 people across India have supported its campaign calling on Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to release the activist.

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