Saharanpur violence key accused arrested, Congress backs him

Saharanpur violence key accused  arrested, Congress backs him

The main accused in the Saharanpur caste clashes, which left two dead and scores injured, and founder of the Dalit outfit 'Bheem Army' Chandrashekhar, was on Thursday arrested from Himachal Pradesh by the Special Task Force (STF) of UP police.

According to the police sources here, Chandrashekhar was arrested from a hotel in the hill resort of Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh.

Sources said that Chandrashekhar, who carried a reward of Rs 12,000 on his head, had been absconding after being booked in the violence that had shaken Saharanpur last month.

“He will be brought to Saharanpur on transit remand,” said a senior police official here. Chandrashekhar is likely to be produced before a Saharanpur court on Friday, sources said. Senior Congress leader Imran Masood slammed the Uttar Pradesh government for announcing a reward for nabbing  Chandrashekhar and said that his party would extend full support to the dalit leader.

Speaking to reporters with the family members of Chandrashekhar at Saharanpur, Masood cautioned the police against using “third degree” methods against the former and warned that there would be ''serious consequences'' if the dalit leader was “tortured” in police custody.

“Dalit and Muslims will counter BJP in the state,” Masood said. Two persons were killed and over two dozen injured when members of the Thakur and Dalit communities clashed following a dispute over taking out a procession at Shabbirpur village in the district last month.

It was alleged that the 'Bheem Army' members had instigated the Dalits to resort to violence. Chandrashekhar was booked for inciting violence and attacking police after which he absconded. The government imposed a ban on Internet services for two days in the district after reports that 'Bheem Army' members might hold demonstration to protest against Chandrashekhar's arrest.

Security in and around the district court has also been strengthened. The clashes had triggered concern within the Yogi government, which also faced flak from the Opposition for failing to check the violence.

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