Congress worker and activist Sadaf Jafar on Tuesday alleged that she suffered abuse and torture in police custody after she walked out of jail, reported PTI. Jafar and retired Indian Police Service officer SR Darapuri, both arrested in connection with protests against the amended citizenship law in Lucknow on December 19, were granted bail on January 4. However, the two were released only three days later after formalities were completed.
“I was slapped by many and called Pakistani because of my name,” Jafar told the news agency. “In the night, I was told that a senior police officer wanted to meet me. I had hoped that at least on the ground of humanity and my constitutional rights, my family will be informed of my whereabouts but when I went to meet him, I was abused.”
Jafar alleged that the officer asked two female constables to slap her, reported The Indian Express. “He then himself pulled my hair and kicked in my stomach and knee,” she added. “None of them were wearing badges to keep their identities hidden.”
The activist added that she could hear arrested men screaming. “They were being thrashed by policemen,” she said. “At the police station, I felt uneasy as my blood pressure increased. I requested policemen to arrange medicines for me but no one acknowledged. Policemen were abusive and also called me Pakistani. Anybody who came looking for me at Hazratganj police station was also being detained.”
Additional Superintendent of Police, East (Lucknow), Suresh Chandra Rawat denied the allegations. “No male policeman touched Sadaf,” he told The Indian Express. “She was arrested by female police personnel and was not thrashed. Sadaf had undergone a medical check-up and its report stated she had no injury marks. The accused were produced before the court, and no one was detained illegally.”
Jafar 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.
Darapuri, meanwhile, was placed under house arrest on December 18 before being taken to Lucknow’s Gosaiganj jail on December 19.
Seventy-six-year-old Darapuri said the case against him was fake. “I have worked as a senior officer in the state police for 32 years and my task was to maintain law and order and not to instigate violence,” he told PTI. “I had no role in the violence that took place in the state capital on December 19 yet I was framed in a fake case.”
Darapuri pointed out that he was under house arrest on the day protests broke out. “I had appealed to people not to indulge in violence and protest through peaceful means,” he added.
Darapuri said most people he met claimed to be falsely implicated. “Cops arrested innocent people and thrashed them in police custody,” he told The Indian Express. “I was illegally kept in police custody for 36 hours before being sent to jail. Cops did not misbehave with me but I saw policemen beating protesters brutally.” Darapuri added that he would continue his fight against the amended citizenship law.
The Uttar Pradesh 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.