A court in Lucknow on Wednesday granted bail to lawyer and president of Rihai Manch, Mohammad Shoaib, The Hindu reported, citing his wife. He was put under house arrest in Lucknow on December 19 during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The next day, he was detained at an unidentified location.
Shoaib was reportedly among over 1,240 people arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police in connection with protests against the amended citizenship law in the state.
The 76-year-old advocate, whose organisation offers legal aid to marginal communities, was put under house arrest ahead of a scheduled demonstration against the amendments to the Citizenship Act in Lucknow’s Parivartan Chowk. The police also detained former Indian Police Service officer SR Darapuri. Activists Meera Sanghamitra, Madhavi Kuckreja and Arundhati Dhuru were detained at Hazratganj police station when they went to enquire about Shoaib’s whereabouts.
At the demonstration in Parivartan Chowk, police had arrested 34 protestors, including activist Sadaf Jafar and filed a first information report against them. The FIR, accessed by Scroll.in, booked the protestors under Indian Penal Code sections 147 (holds a person guilty of rioting), 148 (where a person is guilty of rioting with a deadly weapon), 152 (assaulting a public servant), 307 (attempt to murder), 323 (violently causing harm), 506 (criminal intimidation), 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with the intention to destroy a house) and 120B (being party to a criminal conspiracy) among others.
On January 6, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had posted a habeas corpus plea, filed on behalf of Shoaib, for this week on the Uttar Pradesh government’s request.
At least 19 people have died in Uttar Pradesh alone during clashes between the police and those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The police has been accused of using excessive force as well as detaining and torturing minors. At least 26 people have died across the country, including five in Assam and two in Karnataka.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11 and notified on January 10, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims, leading to protests against it.