\'My name is Azad, police can\'t hold me captive,\' says Bhim Army chief

Chandrashekhar Azad, whose name means free or independent, said his group was not involved in the violence near Delhi Gate on Friday.

New Delhi: Bhim Army leader Chandrashekhar Azad, who on Friday gave Delhi Police the slip to reach Jama Masjid, said his name is ''Azad'' and police cannot hold him captive.

He told PTI that he sneaked into the Jama Masjid around 1:30 pm, wearing a skull cap and wrapping himself in a long shawl to hide his identity.

Chandrashekhar Azad, whose name means free or independent, said his group was not involved in the violence near Delhi Gate on Friday.

"Policemen dressed as civilians are instigating violence in a bid to scuttle the protests," he alleged.

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."

Chandrashekhar Azad was detained by police outside the Jama Masjid early on Saturday.

"We have to make sacrifices 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," he said.

A large number of police personnel had stayed put near the mosque, waiting for Azad to come outside as a large number of people gathered there.

Senior police officers were persuading him to come outside the mosque since last evening. The drama continued for several hours and Aazad finally agreed around 3.15am on Saturday.

The Dalit group leader claimed that 54 per cent 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 said.

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 University.

In the evening, Delhi Police resorted to baton charge and used water cannon to disperse protesters near Delhi Gate as violence marked a march against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on Friday with stones being hurled on security personnel.

Chandrashekhar 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 here. Those who commit violence want to weaken our movement," Chandrashekhar Azad had tweeted in Hindi.

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