The Uttar Pradesh Police assaulted activist Deepak Kabir and imprisoned him in Lucknow on Friday after he went to a police station to inquire about some people missing since an anti-Citizenship Act protest the day before, his wife Veena Rana has claimed. The 48-year-old was arrested on charges of rioting and preventing public servants from performing their duty, The Telegraph reported on Tuesday, quoting a relative.
Rana met Kabir in the prison on Sunday and posted an update on Facebook. She said she had no information about Kabir till Saturday. Rana claimed Kabir’s phone was snatched away, he was beaten up in the name of interrogation, and was sent to jail late on Friday night.
Rana said Kabir rarely takes medicines, but in jail he asked her for a painkiller.
The relative The Telegraph talked to said Kabir was assaulted with “batons and rifle butts” by six policemen. The police allegedly asked him why he was concerned about “criminals”. The activist’s bail plea will be heard on Tuesday.
Dhirendra Kushwaha, the station house officer at Hazratganj, alleged that Kabir was “involved in violent protests and created a scene while we were working.”
However, according to The Times of India, Kabir was among several persons who were arrested on the basis of interrogation of three suspected office-bearers of Islamic fundamentalist outfit Popular Front of India. On Sunday, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma had blamed the organisation for the violence in Lucknow.
Lucknow Senior Superintendent of Police Kalanidhi Naithani told reporters that those arrested initially, including the group’s state President Wasim Ahmad, had confessed to their involvement in the violence. “Based on their confessions, we have arrested a few others who mobilised crowds for the protests and perpetrated violence,” he added.
On the arrests made later, including that of Kabir, Naithani said: “Their call data records and messaging apps showed that they were in regular touch with PFI’s UP unit office-bearers since December 8 and mobilised crowds for the protests using social media.”
Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav tweeted that Kabir had joined a peaceful protest on December 19 in Hazratganj. He shared a copy of a first information report in which Kabir’s name was added at the end by hand in a list of accused booked under several criminal charges.
Kabir, who is a poet and theatre actor, organises the Kabir Festival in Lucknow every year. Social activists Robin Verma and Sadaf Jafar have also been arrested by the state police.