New Delhi: Hours before leaving the national capital on the directions of a court, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad said it would be shameful to not protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark of identifying people by their clothes.
“If I don’t raise my voice when the PM says identify people from their clothes, it would be shameful. 'Insaniyat' (humanity) is something that is greater than caste and religion,” Azad was quoted as saying by the Indian Express, adding if someone is discriminating on the basis of religion, they are disrespecting the Constitution of the country.
Azad was addressing a press conference on Friday after his visit to the Jama Masjid where he read the Preamble to the Constitution a day after being released from the Tihar jail.
The Bhim Army leader said the court asked "me to respect the Prime Minister, I want to ask him to respect the Constitution".
“I cannot go against the Constitution. I respect the PM because he is in a constitutional position. He says I am the servant of the people, but he is not seeing the troubles taken by women in Shaheen Bagh,” he said.
Regarding the violence that happened at Jamia Milia Islamia on December 15, Azad was quoted as saying, “In a country where women are revered, girls were being beaten up at Jamia. It is wrong”.
"Our protest against the CAA will continue. We request the court to allow us to protest. The government is spreading misinformation on the issue, we are checking it," Aazad said.
The Dalit group leader also paid a visit to the Bhagwan Valmiki Mandir in Gole Market and Gurdwara Bangla Sahib and addressed members of the Bhim Army before the 24-hour court-imposed deadline to leave the city ended.
He had been arrested in connection with the violence during an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest in Old Delhi's Daryaganj on December 20.
Calling the CAA as a “black law”, Azad said the new law and proposed implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) could be “a political agenda”. “They (BJP) have fewer numbers in the Rajya Sabha. This could be to increase it. But for us, it’s not politics. It’s about the Constitution and the rights of the people,” he said.
Refuting rumours that his outfit could take a political plunge in the Delhi assembly elections, Azad said his primary concern was to make people aware about the discriminatory citizenship law and not to fight elections in Delhi.
“My priority is to make people aware about the discriminatory citizenship law, mobilise people against it... It is time to strengthen this movement, politics can happen later,” he said.
Azad also said he withdrew from a contest against the Prime Minister during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Varanasi because he did not "have enough money" and that it would have affected the Dalit movement.
Wearing a blue scarf that symbolises BR Ambedkar's iconic blue suit, Azad claimed he was arrested for reading out the Preamble to the Constitution on the stairs of Jama Masjid and said he will “read it daily”.
He also recited poet Rahat Indori's ghazal “Agar Khilaf Hai Hone Do”, which has become a rallying call in the recent protests against the CAA and NRC.