Lucknow: Teacher and Congress party worker Sadaf Jafar, who was arrested while shooting a Facebook Live video of the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in the city, has been given worse treatment than third degree, alleged Congress leaders who met her on Monday.
The UP Police have denied assault and said they have “enough proof” against her, NDTV and PTI have reported. Her bail plea was rejected on Monday.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday had demanded the immediate release of Jafar, who was arrested on December 19. Filmmakers Mira Nair, Hansal Mehta and Gully Boy star Vijay Varma have also demanded her release. Jafar is part of Nair’s upcoming BBC series A Suitable Boy.
“She (Jafar) was beaten brutally by the police. She was hit on her back and her hair was pulled,” Congress state president Ajay Kumar Lallu, who met Sadaf in jail, told PTI.
He was accompanied by Congress Legislative Party leader Aradhana Shukla Mona.
“We demand a high-level judicial probe into the matter,” he added.
Elaborating on the incident, Lallu said, “Sadaf was peacefully protesting against CAA with others and singing ‘Sare Jahan Se Achha‘.
“Some 10-15 youths came who had stones in their bags started hurling them. They were allowed to go by the police and she was arrested. It was all sponsored. The state government was behind the violence.”
Sadaf, who is also a Congress spokesperson was arrested on December 19 while she was on Facebook live from the spot where the protests had gone violent.
Sadaf Jafar was arrested from the spot due to her involvement in clashes along with others, ASP, East Suresh Chandra Rawat said.
“We sent her to jail after conducting her medical. We have enough evidence against her. All her charges are baseless,” Rawat added.
Jafar has been charged under Indian Penal Code Sections 147 (charges of rioting), 148 (charges 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.
In a tweet on Sunday, Priyanka Gandhi had said, “Our party worker Sadaf Jafar was telling the cops to catch unruly elements, but the UP Police beat her up badly and arrested her. She has two children. This is high-handedness (jyaadtee) and this type of oppression will not work.”
हमारी महिला कार्यकर्ता सदफ ज़फ़र पुलिस को बता रही थीं कि उपद्रवियों को पकड़ो और उन्हें यूपी पुलिस ने बुरी तरह से मारा पीटा व गिरफ्तार कर लिया। वह दो छोटे-छोटे बच्चों की मां हैं। ये सरासर ज्यादती है। इस तरह का दमन एकदम नहीं चलेगा।https://t.co/ydS8uYuosM
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) December 22, 2019
In FB videos widely shared on social media, Sadaf was heard saying, “Why are you not stopping them? When there is violence, you are standing and watching the show. What is the use of the helmet? Why aren’t you doing anything?”
In another video, in which her face is not visible but her voice can be heard, she is heard saying, “Why are you arresting me? Why didn’t you arrest the people who were pelting stones?”
When contacted, Sadaf’s sister Nahid Verma said she did not want to say much on this and added that “Congress leaders met her sister on Monday and they can tell better”.
Earlier, in her FB post-Nahid had said, “My sister Sadaf has been arrested from Parivartan Chowk. Totally uncalled for and cowardly action of the police! They have slapped charges like sabotage and attempt to murder on her while she was reporting live on how the police were complicit in sabotage at the dharna!”
“None of us were informed or apparently allowed her to talk to her family. The children are freaking out with worry and so are we,” her FB post adds.
Film fraternity speak out
“This is our India now – Appalling: our #SuitableBoy actress, Sadaf Jafar, beaten and jailed for peaceful protest in Lucknow! Join me in demanding her release,” Mira Nair posted on Twitter on Sunday.
Mehta said he was shocked by the news.
“It is shocking. And telling. How the people have shaken up an establishment that finds no other alternative than to brutalise in the face of protest. #ReleaseSadafJafar,” he wrote on the microblogging site.
Varma, who worked with Jafar, said her arrest was the “lowest low”.
I was shooting with her a fortnight ago. And now she’s in jail! This is insane. This is the lowest low. https://t.co/B2rbevXRQV
— Vijay Varma (@MrVijayVarma) December 22, 2019
(With PTI inputs)