Woman Human Rights Defender
HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on January 10 regarding the arbitrary arrest, fabricated charges, and custodial torture of Ms. Sadaf Zafar in Lucknow. Ms. Zafar is a former teacher and political activist, and one of the persons heading the Congress’ media cell in Uttar Pradesh.
Ms. Zafar was brutally assaulted by male and female police personnel and arrested on December 19, 2019, while she was taking videos of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Parivartan Chowk in Lucknow. Videos shot by her before her assault and shared on social media show her telling police personnel to nab those who were pelting stones, whereas policemen were abusing her. Ms. Zafar was abused and assaulted at the police station as well, including being kicked in the stomach, stabbed, and called ‘Pakistani’.
An FIR (600/2019) was registered against her, and she was charged under Sections 147, 148, 149, 152, 307, 323, 504, 506, 332, 353, 188, 435, 436, 120B, 427 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Sections 3 and 4 of Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, and Section 7 of Criminal Law (Amendment) Act (CLA). The charges include rioting, unlawful assembly, attempt to murder, wrongful constraint, criminal intimidation, and criminal assault on a public servants, among others. Police told her family members that she was arrested for her Facebook Live video. Her bail application was rejected bail on December 23, 2020, before she was granted bail on January 4, 2020, as police failed to produce any witness to corroborate her role in the violence.