Uttar Pradesh court grants bail to activist Sadaf Jafar, others arrested for anti-CAA protests in Lucknow on 19 December

  • An UP court granted bail to teacher-actor-activist Sadaf Jafar, former IPS officer SR Darapuri, Pawan Rao Ambedkar and several others

  • More than 100 were arrested after the 19 December protests. Sadaf was filming videos of demonstrators at the time of her arrest

  • A petition has also been filed on Sadaf's behalf demanding quashing of all the cases against her

An Uttar Pradesh court has granted bail to teacher-actor-activist Sadaf Jafar, former IPS officer SR Darapuri, Pawan Rao Ambedkar and several others today. Arrested on 19 December, 2019, in Lucknow after the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests, the activists have spent close to 15 days in jail during harsh weather.

Confirming the news, Sadaf’s sister Naheed Verma, who has been crucial in taking forward the legal battle, said, “We are very thankful to all the well-wishers because of whom she could get bail.”

 Uttar Pradesh court grants bail to activist Sadaf Jafar, others arrested for anti-CAA protests in Lucknow on 19 December

A file image of Sadaf Jafar (sitting) and Pooja Shukla from July 2018. Picture courtesy: sabrangindia.in

The sessions court earlier rejected Sadaf's bail. Her arrest and incarceration generated widespread outrage among social activists, Twitterati and celebrities. On Thursday, thousands of people took to Twitter to get the the hashtag FreeSadaf trending. Various film personalities including Sushant Singh Rajput, Mahesh Bhatt, Swara Bhaskar and others also demanded Sadaf's release.

Sadaf’s case threw a light on the treatment being meted out to activists and protesters arrested in the aftermath of anti-CAA protests in Uttar Pradesh. Sadaf was arrested on 19 December and allegedly brutally beaten in police custody, which caused her to bleed internally. Activist Robin Verma, also from Rihai Manch, was allegedly beaten in Hazratganj police station.

Apart from Sadaf, Rihai Manch president Mohhamad Shoaib, former IPS officer SR Darapuri, Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey were first placed under preventive detention. Darapuri and Shoaib were arrested later under sections 147, 148, 149, 152, 307, 323, 504, 506, 332, 353, 188, 534, 436, 120-B, 427 of the IPC  and other Acts.

After a petition was filed on Sadaf's behalf demanding quashing of all the cases against her, the Allahabad High Court issued a notice on Thursday in which it sought the government’s response within two weeks on Sadaf’s arrest. The petition claimed her arrest was illegal. Harjot Singh, Sadaf’s lawyer said that they have also demanded a probe “not below the rank of superintendent of police under the judicial scrutiny over the charges slapped against her.”

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, speaking on Sadaf's arrest, earlier said that the Uttar Pradesh government had “crossed all limits of inhumanity”. Priyanka, meeting Sadaf’s children and family. said, “The police have put Sadaf in jail by making baseless allegations.”

More than 100 were arrested after the 19 December protests. Sadaf was filming videos of demonstrators at the time of her arrest. Previously, a report quoted the SHO of Hazratganj Police Station as saying that Sadaf was arrested along with “violent protesters” and added, “We have sufficient video evidence of her involvement in the protest on 19 December. She can appeal against her arrest in court.” Her sister had said Sadaf is innocent and that she should be released soon as she is a single parent.

The author is a researcher and writer working on forest and agrarian rights, gender-based violence and human rights issues. 

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Updated Date: Jan 03, 2020 18:49:45 IST