'NSA provisions withdrawn against Bhim Army founder'

'NSA provisions withdrawn against Bhim Army founder'

Bhim Army founder Chandrashekhar Azad. File photo

The charges under the National Security Act (NSA) have been withdrawn against Bhim Army founder Chandrashekhar Azad, who was arrested in connection with the 2017 Saharanpur violence, Uttar Pradesh government told the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Azad alias Ravan, who was granted bail on September 14, was in jail since June 2017 for his alleged role in the Saharanpur riots and the NSA provisions were invoked against him almost six months after his arrest.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submissions of Aishwarya Bhati, Additional Advocate General of the UP government, that the NSA provisions have been withdrawn against the 'Dalit' leader, and disposed of his plea saying it has now become "infructuous".

Azad had challenged the invocation of the stringent provisions of NSA against him on several grounds.

Azad was arrested from Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh on June 8, 2017, by a Special Task Force (STF) team of the Uttar Pradesh police.

In the incident that occurred on May 25 last year, members of two castes had clashed at the Shabbeerpur village in the Saharanpur district of UP after a dispute arose over loud music being played during a Maharana Pratap Jayanti procession.

One man was killed and around 25 houses were burnt in the subsequent inter-caste clashes. Chandrashekhar was then arrested and booked under the NSA.