Delhi: Ravidas temple demolition sparks clashes, over 50 protesters including Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad detained

The Delhi Police on Wednesday night detained over 50 protesters including Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad after a Dalit protest over demolition of Saint Ravidas temple turned violent in Tughlakabad area of the national capital. Police had to resort to mild lathicharge to control the crowd and even used tear gas to disperse the violent protesters. The protesters also set ablaze a few two-wheelers and attacked a police vehicle. Police said that protesters also pelted stones on cops. Wearing blue caps and carrying flags, protesters from neighbouring states marched from Ambedkar Bhawan in Jhandewalan to the Ramlila Maidan. Cries of Jai Bhim rend the air and the traffic movement was severely affected in some parts of the city. later, several protesters including Chandrashekhar Azad were taken in custody by the police. Azad was taken to Kalkaji police station and is being questioned. The police may lodge an FIR against for rioting and unlawful activities. The protesters were joined by Delhis Social Justice Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam and a few spiritual leaders from the community. Gautam said that the fight is against the injustice and not against the Supreme Court order. I am here as a representative of the community and not as a Delhi minister or politician. We respect the Supreme Court order, but the government should answer why only temples of the Dalit community and statues of BR Ambedkar are being demolished across the country? he asked. Meanwhile, Azads Bhim Army claimed that the police fired at the protesters first, a charge categorically denied by the police. The Ravidas temple in Tughlakabad forest area was demolished by the Delhi Development Authority on August 10 on the orders of the Supreme Court. The protesters were demanding to rebuild the temple by the Centre or handing over of the plot to the community. The protest in Delhi came a week after a similar protest in Punjab on August 13 over the issue.