The Delhi Police has arrested 96 persons, including Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad on charges of rioting and unlawful assembly, officials said on Thursday. Police resorted to baton charge activists of Bhim Army during a rally to protest against the demolishment of Ravidas Mandir in Tughlakabad on the orders of the Supreme Court, near Ravidas Chowk in New Delhi,
Delhi Police later took Azad in custody and will produce him before a court on Thursday, a senior police officer said.
The Dalit leader and around 96 others were detained on Wednesday night from Tughlaqabad area after protest by Dalits against the demolition of a Ravidas temple turned violent, prompting police to resort to "mild lathicharge" and use tear gas to disperse the crowd.
"An FIR has been registered on charges of rioting, unlawful assembly, voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty, causing damage to public property, among others.
"Chandrashekhar has been arrested along with 95 other protesters," said Devesh Srivastava, joint commissioner of police, Southern range.
The officer said they are maintaining vigil in the area and monitoring the situation.
The protesters turned violent when police did not allow them to proceed to the site of the temple demolished by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on August 10 on the orders of the Supreme Court.
According to the police, the protesters set fire to two motorcycles, and vandalised cars and a police vehicle. A few policemen were also injured in the incident.
The protesters have been demanding that the government hand over the plot of land in Tughlaqabad to the community and rebuild the temple.