Eight men, who were assaulted in the custody of Saharanpur Police last month for holding protests, were cleared of charges and released on Sunday, NDTV reported. Police said there was no evidence that they participated in the demonstrations.

The eight men were beaten by a police officer for allegedly protesting on June 10 against the disparaging remarks made by Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nupur Sharma about the Prophet Muhammed.

Sharma was suspended from the party on June 5. Protests had broken out in Moradabad, Prayagraj and Kanpur, in which hundreds of persons were arrested.

A video of the eight men being beaten up in custody in Saharanpur was widely shared on social media. On June 16, the Saharanpur Police ordered an inquiry into the matter.

Additional Superintendent of Police Rajesh Kumar said that an application had been filed in an Uttar Pradesh court for the release the eight men due to a lack of evidence, the BBC Hindi reported.

Under Section 169 of the Criminal Code of Procedure, the police can file an application in the court seeking the immediate release of persons in custody if there is a dearth of evidence against them.

“They gave proof that they were not involved in the matter,” Kumar said. “The police cross-examined the evidence and also got the CCTV footage. We found out that the eight men were elsewhere when the protests took place. So we cleared them of the charges.”

Advocate Waseem Babar, who represented the eight men, said that they had a plea of alibi – proof that they were elsewhere, the BBC Hindi reported.

One of the eight men, Mohammad Ali, said that he was picked as soon when he reached a local mosque on the day of the protest, NDTV reported.

“Two guards asked me and my friend to get down from the bike and took us to the police station,” he said.

Ali claimed that his hand was broken in custody. The officers allegedly repeatedly beat him despite telling them that he was injured.

Meanwhile, the inquiry on the police officer who beat the eight men is still underway, Kumar said, according to NDTV.