Congress worker and social activist Sadaf Jafar on Tuesday alleged that not only did male police officers assault her in custody but the police also subjected her to communal slurs and humiliation and asked her to go to Pakistan.
“They said ‘you are a Pakistani’,” Ms. Jafar told The Hindu at her residence after being released from jail, more than two weeks after her arrest following the violence during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Lucknow.
“They said ‘khate yahan ke ho, bajate wahan ke ho. Kya kami ki hai humne tum logo ke liye. [You eat here but sing songs of Pakistan. What have we not provided to you people] You are doing jobs here, getting to eat and also produce kids’,” she narrated.
Ms. Jafar, a single mother with two minor children, said the police accused her of receiving funds from Pakistan. She claimed that “male policemen beat her up more” than the female constables. When she begged the police to allow her to inform her family of her detention on December 19, a male police officer beat her up and she was slapped multiple times by women constables and abused, she alleged.
“An officer walked up to me and pulled my hair–the whole strand of hair came off– and then he kicked me on my stomach and my knee,” said Ms. Jafar. “They used such filthy language that I can’t repeat it.”
Ms. Jafar and retired IPS officer S. R Darapuri were among the 14 persons granted bail by a Lucknow court on Saturday in connection with the violence.
After his release, Mr. Darapuri (76) also alleged mistreatment at the hands of the police during his police custody. He said he was even denied a blanket in the cold when he asked for it and was also not provided food for 24 hours. “I was locked up in the Hazratganj thana at midnight [December 20]. I didn’t have any [warm] clothes. I was taken by police at 11 a.m. and didn’t eat anything after that,” he said. “I was feeling cold and asked the police to give me a blanket. But they refused to give me a blanket and food,” the septuagenarian told The Hindu.
Mr. Darapuri, who is also an Ambedkarite activist, said the arrests were an attempt by the government to suppress the voice of the social and political activists.
“The government was rattled by the manner in which the entire country opposed the law and adopted a tactic of suppression. They sent political and social activists to jail with the strategy that it would leave protesters outside without anyone to guide them. But the government has failed in it,” he said.
Mr. Darapuri was under house arrest on December 19 but was arrested by police the following day. During his house detention — he did not attend the protest — he posted on Facebook a photo of him holding a placard, which read “Save Citizenship,” to express solidarity.
He would continue to exercise his “democratic right to protest till the law is withdrawn.” When he was under house detention, he continued to protest through social media following which the police kept him under “illegal detention” to suppress him, he said.
“On December 20, I was picked up from my house at 11 a.m. and kept the whole day at the Ghazipur police station and was taken to the Hazratganj police station in the evening. They showed my arrest at 7 p.m., and not 11 a.m., from some park,” he said.
The police also did not record his statement at the police station and fabricated it, he alleged.
Outside jail, Ms. Jafar, who is also an actor in Mira Nair’s A Suitable Boy, said the “struggle” against the “inhuman” CAA would continue till it was withdrawn.
“I pity how the Yogi government is rattled and scared. I was initially angry but I feel like laughing looking at the Sections [of the IPC] they slapped on a woman when I was peacefully protesting. The police there was witness to it,” she said.
Mr. Darapuri alleged that the violence was orchestrated by the RSS and the police in order to malign a peaceful demonstration. She claimed that RSS workers arrested during the protest were let off by the police without any charges.
Ms. Jafar said she was arrested and taken to a police station without the presence of any women constables.
In a detailed memorandum signed by party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and submitted to Governor Anandiben Patel recently, the Congress said Ms. Jafar was arrested from the spot “without cause or reason”while she was clicking a video when the protest turned violent.
Ms. Jafar said Ms. Vadra filled the “gap of a mother” for her children while she was in jail and vowed to intensify her struggle against the CAA. “Yogi ji has removed from me the fear of going to jail and getting beaten up,” she asserted.
This story first appeared on thehindu.com