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Bhim Army Chief, 95 Others Arrested After Massive Protest in Delhi Over Ravidas Temple Demolition

The Dalit leader and 95 others were detained on Wednesday night from Tughlakabad area after protest by Dalit community members over the demolition of the temple turned violent.

The Delhi Police has arrested Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and 95 others on several charges, including rioting and unlawful assembly, after Dalits protested violently in South Delhi over the demolition of a Ravidas temple, officials said on Thursday.

Azad was produced before a court on Thursday, which sent him to judicial custody, a senior police officer said.

The Dalit leader and 95 others were detained on Wednesday night from Tughlakabad area after protest by Dalit community members over the demolition of the temple turned violent. Police had to resort to mild lathicharge and fire tear-gas shells to disperse the crowd.

The protesters had set on fire two motorcycles and damaged a police vehicle. A few policemen were also injured in the clash.

“A total of 96 people, including Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, have been arrested for rioting, unlawful activities, assaulting public servant, damaging public property and causing injury to people,” said Devesh Srivastava, Joint Commissioner of Police (Southern Range).

“We are maintaining vigil, have deployed officers and are constantly monitoring the situation,” he said.

On Wednesday, the protesters turned violent when police did not allow them to proceed to the site of the temple demolished by the Delhi Development Authority on August 10 on the orders of the Supreme Court.

The protesters had demanded that the government hand over the temple land to the community and rebuild the temple.

Police said nearly 600 personnel from south and southeast districts were deployed in the area to ensure the protest remained peaceful. But the protesters turned violent and several police officials were injured in the clash.

The SHO of Jaitpur police station received eight stitches on his head, police said, adding the other policemen injured in the clash are doing fine.

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