Hours after massive anti-CAA protests in Delhi, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad was taken into police custody from outside the Jama Masjid in the early hours on Saturday morning.
He was inside the mosque in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
During the protests on Friday, Bhim Army chief Azad had somehow managed to escape from the police custody but was detained again on Saturday.
Delhi: Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad has been detained by Police from Jama Masjid. Police tried to detain him yesterday, during protest at Jama Masjid against #CitizenshipAmendmentAct but he was taken out of the spot by his supporters. pic.twitter.com/KiuZLiJ13U
— ANI (@ANI) December 20, 2019
Asked how he breached the tight security ring outside the Jama Masjid on Friday afternoon, he said, "My name is Chandrashekhar Azad. Police cannot hold me captive. I wore a cap and a shawl and entered the masjid easily."
Speaking on the NRC issue, Azad claimed that 54 percent of Dalits are landless. "How can we furnish documents of 1955. The government will snatch our right to vote, our reservation, SC/ST Act..." he added.
On Friday, violence had erupted near Delhi's Daryaganj area after hundreds of protesters were marching from Jama Masjid towards Delhi Gate.
Azad, whose name means free or independent, said his group was not involved in the violence near Delhi Gate. He further alleged that policemen dressed as civilians are instigating violence in a bid to scuttle the protests.
The proposed National Register of Citizens is going to impact Muslims and Dalits the most, Azad claimed.
"They could not keep the Rafale files safe in lockers, how can they ask us to furnish documents? They cannot show their degrees to us. Why should we?" he said.
The protest will continue till Home Minister Amit Shah resigns, he said, adding he will soon address the protesters at Jamia Millia Islamia.
On Friday evening, Delhi Police resorted to lathicharge and used water cannon to disperse protesters near Delhi Gate as violence marked a march against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act with stones being hurled on security personnel. A four-wheeler was also torched in Daryaganj area.
"We have to make sacrifice so that the legislation is taken back. We do not support violence. We were sitting inside the mosque since Friday morning and our people were not involved in violence," Azad said.
Azad had urged his supporters to carry on the protest peacefully. "Those who are indulging in violence are not our people. Our peaceful protest continues at the historic Jama Masjid. Ambedkarites do not indulge in violence."
"Those indulging in violence are from RSS and not from our outfit. I am at Jama Masjid and will stay. Those who commit violence want to weaken our movement," Azad said before being detained.
The Delhi Police has detained as many as 40 people after clashes broke out during anti-CAA agitation in Daryaganj. However, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Delhi Police headquarters and demanded the release of people who were detained amid protest against Citizenship Amendment Act.
(With inputs from PTI)