LUCKNOW, Uttar Pradesh ― Sadaf Jafar, a political activist, was granted bail by a sessions court judge in Lucknow today.
Her lawyer Harjot Singh and sister Naveed Varma confirmed the development to HuffPost India.
Her family has alleged that Jafar, who had come out to peacefully protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act on 19 December, was arrested without cause and beaten by male constables while she was in custody.
Jafar was the only woman arrested after the protests turned violent on 19 December in the capital of Uttar Pradesh.
Following the public outrage that followed these allegations, the police released a video, denying all the accusations levelled against it in Jafar’s case.
The police have slapped Jafar with charges like attempt to murder, possession of explosives and sabotage.
Jafar, a mother of two children, who recently joined the Congress Party, did not flee the site of the protest even after it turned violent on 19 December. The former school teacher stuck around and posted videos of the events unfolding around her.
In one video that she posted on Facebook, Jafar is seen and heard urging the policemen to take action against the miscreants. “Why are you not stopping them?” she says over and over again. “There was so much police, but when the violence happened, the police disappeared,” she says in the video.
In her final video, Jafar says, “Why are you arresting me? I was protesting peacefully. You could not catch the people who threw stones?”
Naheed Varma, her sister, told HuffPost India, ”“Attempt to murder? Please reveal the person that she tried to murder. Possession of explosives? Show it.”
Under the garb of maintaining law and order, the Bhartiya Janata Party-run government in UP has unleashed a brutal crackdown to crush any dissent against the discriminatory citizenship law. The UP Police has arrested thousands of people, beaten women and children, shot at non-protestors, and tortured children. Now, the government is sending notices to people suspected of damaging public property to pay damages or face seizure of their properties.
The charges against her sister, Varma believes, will eventually be dropped. She has faith in the higher courts of India. But the “lifelong legal battle,” which now lies ahead of them, will change their lives forever.
“Fighting for bail is just the first step,” she said. “Sadaf’s life is disrupted forever.”
For a week now, there have been rumours of the police sending a recovery notice to Jafar and two other prominent social activists — Deepak Kabir and Mohammed Shoaib — who were arrested on 19 December in Lucknow.
On Thursday, Varma said the family had not received any notice so far. “Honestly, we are prepared for the worst. We are living in some alternative reality where the truth no longer matters,” she said.