A court on Monday rejected the bail plea of jailed social activist and Congress worker Sadaf Zafar who was arrested while protesting against the amended citizenship law. Chief Judicial Magistrate Sudesh Kumar said she is not entitled to bail as the offences under which she has been booked are serious in nature.
The bail application moved on Zafar's behalf had claimed that she had not committed any crime. Earlier in the day, Uttar Pradesh Congress leaders met the activist in jail and alleged that she was given worse treatment than "third degree" by the police.
"She (Zafar) 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 Zafar in jail, told a news agency. Accompanied by Congress Legislative Party leader Aradhana Shukla Mona, Lallu demanded a "high-level judicial probe" into the matter.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday demanded the immediate release of Zafar, who was arrested during an anti-CAA protest on December 19. Elaborating on the incident, Lallu said, "Sadaf was peacefully protesting against CAA with others and singing 'Sare Jahan Se Achha'.
"Some 10-15 youths, who had stones in their bags, came and 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 while she was live on Facebook from the spot where the protests had gone violent.
"Sadaf Zafar was arrested from the spot due to her involvement in clashes along with others," ASP, East, Suresh Chandra Rawat had said. He said she was sent to jail after conducting a medical examination and that the police has enough evidence against her.
In a tweet on Sunday, Priyanka Gandhi had said, "Our party worker Sadaf Zafar 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 anything on the matter and 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.