'Anti-National Label Hurt More Than Police Torture': Activist Sadaf Jafar
"I was labelled as anti-national. By then, I couldn't understand, what hurt me more, the injuries or the words. You are Pakistani. You eat here, you have children here, but you support Pakistan," Sadaf told The Logical Indian.
Congress worker and social activist Sadaf Jafar revealed horrifying details of police brutality after she was arrested during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act stir in Uttar Pradesh.
Sadaf Jafar, along with hundreds of protestors, was peacefully protesting against the CAA in Lucknow on December 19. All the women protestors decided to make a human chain and were confident that the police would not harm them.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, Sadaf said: "Suddenly we saw a group of students, all dressed up alike with skullcaps. People started running away as the group of students began pelting stones."
Amid the chaos, the police did not seem to do much, Sadaf claimed.
"The police caught us when we tried crossing the road and go away. Many of us were dragged to the other side of the road and beaten up. When we asked them why were they taking us, the police hit us even more," Sadaf said.
"Men were bleeding, protesters were kicked and brutally thrashed. It was all a mess," Sadaf explained the situation.
During the agitation, the bike of a female police constable, Seelam, was burnt. The police, in turn, gave her a baton to take revenge from the protesters.
"I was asked to sit on the road, but I refused because I had a bad knee. The police then thrashed me and pinned me on the ground. I was beaten up brutally and taken to the Mahila police station," Sadaf said.
When Sadaf was taken to the hospital, Seelam, the lady constable spotted her, abused her and thrashed her.
Recalling her arrest, she said, "When Seelam tried to slap me, I covered my face. She then clawed my face and I had bruises all over my face and legs."
"Even the male cops beat me up. They kicked me in the stomach and called me 'Pakistani.' My family was not informed about my arrest," Sadaf revealed.
None of the police personnel at the station was wearing their badges. She said it was a deliberate attempt to conceal their identities.
"Attempts were made to misguide me. When I asked who beat me up or who called me, I was given incorrect names," Sadaf said.
She said that all the people who went to enquire about her were detained at the Hazratganj police station.
The activist's arrest had triggered widespread outrage. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi and filmmaker Mira Nair were among those who had called for her release.
"When it was late in the evening, I was scared that my family was not aware of my whereabouts. I requested them to call my family and tell them about me. But I was not allowed to," said Sadaf.
Later, Sadaf was summoned by the Inspector General (IG).
"An IG is an IPS officer. I thought he would release me on humanitarian grounds. But, he was abusing me and I still wasn't sure of his designation as he was not wearing his badge. He asked me how educated I was and what did I know about the CAA," said Sadaf.
A woman constable present there was asked to slap Sadaf. But the officer did not seem satisfied with the slap and walked up to Sadaf herself, puller her hair and kicked her in her stomach, she said.
"I was bleeding at night after I was kicked in my stomach. I needed a sanitary pad but nobody paid heed," added Sadaf.
"I was labelled as anti-national. By then, I couldn't understand, what hurt me more, the injuries or the words. You are Pakistani. You eat here, you have children here, but you support Pakistan," added Sadaf.
"They used the filthiest abuses, did not give me food and water. I was completely dehumanised," she said, adding, "Thanks to this BJP government, I know the extent to which a person can be dehumanised."
The next morning, when Deepak Kabir, a prominent activist, came looking for her at the Hazratganj thana, Jafar recalled that she was more concerned than relieved. The constables confiscated his phone, hit him with their batons and locked him up in the jail.
Lashing out at the BJP, Sadaf Jafar told The Logical Indian, "This government is trying to create a divide between Hindu and Muslims. UP CM used the word revenge. Is this a kind of language CM of a state should use? The violence was staged by the government, but hundreds of innocents have been framed."
"My immediate identity became something defined me that night. Not who I am, not the social activist I am," said Sadaf.
She later thanked the Congress party leader Priyanka Gandhi for her support and how she took care of her children as a mother, saying, "I am grateful to Priyanka Gandhi and Congress party for supporting us. I will continue to fight against the CAA."
अंबेडकरवादी चिंतक और पूर्व आईपीएस श्री दारापुरी और कांग्रेस नेता सदफ जफ़र आज जेल से रिहा हो गए। कोर्ट द्वारा सबूत माँगने पर यूपी पुलिस बगलें झांकने लगी थी।— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) January 7, 2020
भाजपा सरकार ने निर्दोष लोगों और बाबासाहेब की विरासत को आगे बढ़ाने वाले लोगों को गिरफ्तार करके अपनी असली सोच दिखाई है..1/2 pic.twitter.com/HIdyYWaIKX
Violent protests erupted across Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere in the country after the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Parliament. Over 25 have died in the protests across the country; with 21 deaths reported from Uttar Pradesh alone.
While the government says it will help minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries to get citizenship if they fled to India before 2015 because of religious persecution. Critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution.