New Delhi: A Delhi court on February 11 extended the judicial custody of civil society activist Khalid Saifi and former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan, who were arrested from Khureji protest site on February 26.
According to eyewitnesses, both activists were arrested when they were trying to prevent the police from evacuating protestors from the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act sit-in at Khureji.
While Ishrat Jahan is also a lawyer, Saifi divides his time between his business and activism with the citizens’ campaign called United Against Hate.
Saifi had been frequenting the Khureji protest. Eyewitnesses said that he went up to the police to urge them to let the women of Khureji protest peacefully. However, he was arrested while doing so.
A video has surfaced now which shows he was perfectly fit when he was arrested. However, Nadeem Khan, one of the founding members of the UAH campaign told The Wire that when he was produced before the magistrate on the night of February 26, both his legs were broken, indicating that he might have been tortured in the few hours he was in police custody.
A video, widely circulated on social media, shows Saifi being moved around by the Delhi police in a wheelchair. Both his limbs are seen covered with casts.
The magistrate put both Saifi and Jahan in judicial custody in Mandoli jail.
Jahan had filed a bail application, which was rejected. Her sister Sarvar Jahan said that the court’s order, specifying the reasons for the rejection, has not been issued yet. “Till the time her bail is accepted, her judicial custody will continue. That is the legal procedure,” she said.
Saifi, on the other hand, had not applied for a bail. Eminent lawyer Rebecca John, Khan said, will handle his case from the next hearing.
In the first information report, the police claims that on February 26, Saifi, Jahan and 12 others incited the crowd when it was trying to convince the protestors to leave the area as there were chances of communal violence there.
The FIR says that the police heard sounds of firing there even as Jahan asked people not to leave the site. It also says that Saifi incited people to pelt stones at the police. Amidst the stone-pelting at police, a person, according to the FIR, fired at head constable Yograj who just managed to escape. It also claimed that a police official Vinod Kumar was also injured in the process, forcing the police to use “appropriate force”.
However, most eyewitnesses refuted the claims of the police and said it used force without any provocation, and demolished the protest site even as the protestors stayed calm.