Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad has been arrested by Delhi Police after he was detained early Saturday morning near the Jama Masjid. With his arrest, a total of 16 people have been arrested in connection with Friday's violence in the old quarter of Delhi during a protest against the new citizenship law. Chandrashekhar Azad has been arrested for allegedly inciting a mob into indulging in violence, the police said.
Fifteen of the arrested protesters were produced at the Tis Hazari court on Saturday evening, with police seeking 14 days' judicial custody for them. The accused's legal counsel has opposed the police's request, stating that they have been arrested for bailable offences.
Chandrashekhar Azad is yet to be produced in court.
The 31-year-old Bhimi Army chief had escaped police custody on Friday after leading a huge protest against the citizenship law at Jama Masjid in the old quarters of Delhi. He will be presented before a court today.
Before being caught, he, along with hundreds of supporters, shouted slogans and waved flags from the steps of the mosque, dramatically defying the police.
Delhi Police had denied permission to Chandrashekhar Azad's protest march against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act from Jama Masjid to Jantar Mantar in the heart of the city. He defied the ban, tweeting that he will make it to the area anyway. And he did just that.
"My name is Chandrashekhar Azad. Police cannot hold me captive. I wore a cap and a shawl and entered the masjid easily," he told news agency PTI.
He said his group was not involved in Friday's violence in which, according to sources, at least 36 people, including eight policemen were injured. The police had resorted to lathi-charge and water cannons after a private car parked by a road in Daryaganj was set afire as the protest turned violent.
However, the police denied lathi-charging the protesters, saying that they only used "mild force" and water cannons.
A local court, meanwhile, pulled up Delhi Police for detaining eight minors during Friday's protests in Daryaganj, near Jama Masjid. "Detention of minor in a police station is a flagrant violation of law," the judge said. All the minors, along with several others detained, were subsequently released.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act for the first time makes religion the test of citizenship in India. The government says it will help minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries to get citizenship if they fled to India because of religious persecution. Critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principals of the constitution.