Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad Sent To Jail For 14 Days Over Citizenship Protests

A Tis Hazari court dismissed the Bhim Army chief's bail plea before sending him to jail.

Chandrashekhar Azad was arrested from the Jama Masjid area on Saturday morning.

Highlights

  • Chandrashekhar Azad had taken out a protest against police orders
  • 36 people were injured in clashes that followed in Delhi's Daryaganj
  • Cops accused the Bhim Army chief of inciting thousands to protest
New Delhi:

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad was sent to 14 days' judicial custody on Saturday, a day after he led a massive protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Old Delhi.

A Tis Hazari court, where he was produced in the evening, dismissed Chandrashekhar Azad's bail plea before sending him to jail. He was accused by the Delhi police in its FIR of "inciting" thousands to take up a protest march that eventually descended into violence on Friday.

The proceedings were held in-camera and the media wasn't allowed inside the courtroom.

"PM Modi should do table talks at least. He is doing the task of dividing the country. There is no single evidence against me. The country is burning and PM Modi is only concerned about his rallies," Chandrashekhar Azad told reporters after his bail plea was dismissed.

Fifteen protesters arrested during the violent protest in Old Delhi's Daryaganj area were earlier sent by the court to two days' judicial custody. The 31-year-old Bhim Army chief was not produced in court along with them, sparking concerns from defence advocates over "whether he was even alive or not". 

On Friday, the Delhi Police had denied Chandrashekhar Azad permission to take out a protest march against the Citizenship Amendment Act from Jama Masjid to Jantar Mantar in the heart of the city. He defied the ban to do just that, giving the slip to policemen posted at the scene. "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 at the time.

Before being arrested near Jama Masjid on Saturday morning, he led hundreds of supporters in shouting slogans and waving flags from the steps of the mosque -- dramatically defying the police and declaring that the agitation against the controversial law should not be allowed to weaken. 

At least 36 people, including eight policemen, were injured in the violence at Daryaganj that saw a private car being set on fire and cops responding with lathi-charge and water cannons.  

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 get citizenship if they fled to India because of religious persecution. Critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the Constitution.