A district court in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday granted bail to Congress worker and activist Sadaf Jafar, retired Indian Police Service officer SR Darapuri and others, News18 reported. They were among hundreds of people arrested in the city on December 19 as protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act erupted.
The court on Friday had reserved its order in the case.
On Thursday, the Allahabad High Court had asked the state government to respond to a petition for quashing a First Information Report filed against Jafar within two weeks. She was arrested on several charges, including rioting, attempted murder and assault on public servants. She had livestreamed a protest and the police crackdown on Facebook, and ended up recording her own arrest. In the footage, she appeared to be observing the aftermath of the protest, weaving her way through crowds of police officers. She was suddenly hauled away, and did not receive any response when she asked the police the reason for her arrest.
Jafar was allegedly assaulted brutally with batons by police officers and taken for a medical examination before being sent to prison. The police have denied the accusation.
SR Darapuri, meanwhile, was placed under house arrest on December 18 before being taken to Lucknow’s Gosaiganj jail on December 19. Earlier, a news report had incorrectly claimed that human rights defender Mohammed Shoaib had also been granted bail. Shoaib – the president of rights organisation Rihai Manch – was also put under house arrest on December 18 before being arrested. Rihai Manch offers legal aid to marginal communities.
On Wednesday, a court in Varanasi had granted bail to activist couple Ekta and Ravi Shekhar, who were among over 60 people arrested in the city for protesting against the citizenship law, and 56 others. The couple run an NGO called Climate Agenda that focuses on air pollution.
The police have been accused of using excessive force to quell the protests in which at least 19 people were killed in the state. Fifteen of the deaths were caused by firearm injuries. The police in Bijnor district, meanwhile, allegedly tortured five minors and other detainees.
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Corrections and clarifications: The story has been updated to reflect that bail was granted on Saturday and not Friday, as earlier reported.