Urgent Action Victory! – Dalit Rights Activist Released (India: UA 248.17)

Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’, a prominent Dalit rights activist, has been released from Saharanpur District Prison on 14 September. He was being held in administrative detention without charge or trial under the draconian National Security Act.

Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’ was released from Saharanpur District Prison in Uttar Pradesh on 14 September 2018, where he was being held in administrative detention since November 2017.

Chandrashekhar Azad has been detained under the National Security Act (NSA) for almost 11 months. The NSA permits administrative detention for up to 12 months on loosely defined grounds of national security and maintenance of public order. It is a repressive law that has been used to target human rights defenders in India.

Speaking to the media upon his release, Chandrashekhar Azad said, “The government was scared that they would be rebuked by the Supreme Court for arresting me so they have decided to release me early. I’m very sure that they will re-arrest me again within 10 days”. However, the Uttar Pradesh police have told the media that they decided to release him early because of a request from his mother.

Chandrasekhar Azad was first arrested on 8 June 2017, for his alleged involvement in inter-caste clashes in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh in April and May 2017. He was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court on 2 November 2017. The court was reported to have observed that the charges against him were politically motivated. However, before he could even leave jail, Chandrashekar Azad was arrested again under the National Security Act.

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