Anti-CAA activists arrested in UP to spend New Year in jail

Their bail pleas will only be heard starting January 3, 2020

activist arrest

December 19-20 saw large scale protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Uttar Pradesh. Almost 280 people were arrested in Lucknow, among them many human rights defenders and activists, who are now set to spend the New Year in jail, as their bail please have been listed for hearing from January 3 onwards, advocate Harjot Singh told the Hindustan Times.

The call for the release of social activists Sadaf Jafar, 43, Deepak Kabir, 40 and retired IPS officer and activist SR Darapuri, 76, have been growing louder with people using social media to prove that they had nothing to do with the violence that took place in the city. An FIR was lodged against them at the Hazratganj police station against them apart from 34 other people including advocate and president of ‘Rihai Manch’ Mohammad Shoaib, activist Deepak Kabir and activist Robin Verma.

“Sadaf’s bail plea will now be heard in the sessions court on January 3. She is totally innocent and was sent to judicial custody on the basis of a generic FIR. There was no specific evidence against her,” said advocate Harjot Singh.

Advocate Amir Naqvi who is also helping out with the release of the people in judicial custody said that the bail pleas of other protestors will also be heard around the same time as Sadaf’s. “They will have to stay in jail at least till January 1,” he said.

Beena, Deepak Kabir’s wife has also slammed the allegations against her husband to be false. Stating that she would move his bail application as soon as the court reopens, she said, “We’ll go to the court for justice. Only those found involved in violence should have been arrested. We will move his bail application on January 3 once the court reopens. Senior advocate IB Singh is hopeful that my husband will be released.”

SR Darapuri’s son Ved Kumar told the publication that his father was under house arrest on December 19 and hadn’t moved out of the house at all. “Police visited our home and took him to the Ghazipur police station. From there to Hazratganj and then to the jail on December 21. He did not incite anyone to vandalise public property,” Kumar said.

The UP Police has become notorious for its human rights violations after it beat up activists without any evidence and detained and assaulted minors. Dinkar Kapoor, an activist from ‘Swaraj Abhiyan’ who works with Darapuri said, “Police action against Darapuri is a result of political vendetta. He is 76 and a patient of cancer. How come he was kept in judicial custody for such a long time?”

The UP Police launched a massive crackdown on human rights workers and activists in the wake of CAA protests. Robin Verma, a volunteer with the Rihai Manch was detained along with a journalist and beaten up with belts and lathis before being thrown into custody.

In Varanasi, 69 activists were detained even after they staged a peaceful demonstration and charged under Sections 147, 148, 149, 188, 332, 353 and 341 of the IPC as well as Section 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1932 that range from violent rioting with deadly weapons to assaulting a public servant, reported.

The UP police has launched a crackdown on human rights workers and activists in the state. 18 people have died in the agitation, 13 due to police firing and more than 700 people have been arrested for protesting against the CAA. However, the police is still denying any wrongdoing from its end and it has now started seizing the properties of ‘identified rioters’ and plans to book 250 protestors for instigating violence under the National Security Act (NSA).

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