LUCKNOW: In a bid to reach out to the backward sections of society ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP-led government in Uttar Pradesh has ordered early release of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad alias Ravan who has been in jail since June 2017 over his alleged role in the Saharanpur caste violence, in which four persons were killed.
The prison stint of Azad, slapped with National Security Act, was scheduled to end on November 1, 2018 but the state government said he would be set free two months prior to his scheduled release.
The government said the decision for his early release was taken on humanitarian grounds in the wake of the repeated pleas of his ailing mother and prevailing circumstances.
The decision comes at a time when the ruling party is trying all the tricks up its sleeves to woo Dalits to bolster its performance in the election next year.
As part of a larger strategy, the saffron party has been organising caste meets to keep the deprived sections in good humour to counter the challenge posed by prospective SP-BSP alliance in the state.
During Kairana Lok Sabha by-poll, Azad had appealed to the Dalit communities to support the joint opposition candidate. The BJP lost the seat.
According to highly placed sources, legal aides and top leaders of Bhim Army were contacted by the UP government on Thursday afternoon and given the information about his early release.
Two of Azad’s aides, whose jail terms would last till October 14, will also be released early along with him, a government release said.
Who is Azad?
Azad, a self-styled patron of Bhim Army, calls himself an epitome of Ravan. With his ‘army’ spread across seven states besides UP, he is known to adopt any path, including violence, to respond to the brutality perpetrated by upper castes every now and then.