State Congress leaders meet jailed party worker in jail

All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary Priyanka Gandh. (PTI photo)

State Congress leaders on Monday met jailed party worker Sadaf Zafar, who was arrested during a protest against the amended Citizenship Act, and alleged that she was given worse treatment than "third degree" by the police.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday demanded the immediate release of Zafar- who was arrested during an anti-CAA protest on December 19.

"She (Zafar) was beaten brutally by the police. She was hit on her back and her hair was pulled," Congress state president Ajay Kumar Lallu, who met Sadaf in jail, told PTI.

He was accompanied by Congress Legislative Party leader Aradhana Shukla Mona.

"We demand a high-level judicial probe into the matter," he added.

Elaborating the incident, Lallu said, "Sadaf was peacefully protesting against CAA with others and singing 'Sare Jahan Se Achha'.

"Some 10-15 youths came who had stones in their bags, and started hurling them at the police. They were allowed to go by the police and she was arrested. It was all sponsored. The state government was behind the violence."

Sadaf, who is also a Congress spokesperson, was arrested on December 19 while she was on Facebook live from the spot where the protests had gone violent.

Sadaf Zafar was arrested from the spot allegedly due to her involvement in clashes along with others.

"We sent her to jail after conducting her medical. We have enough evidence against her. All her charges are baseless," ASP, East, Suresh Chandra Rawat said.

In a tweet on Sunday, Priyanka Gandhi said, "Our party worker Sadaf Zafar was telling the cops to catch unruly elements, but the UP Police beat her up badly and arrested her. She has two children. This is high-handedness (jyaadtee) and this type of oppression will not work."

In FB videos widely shared on social media, Sadaf was heard saying: "Why are you not stopping them? When there is violence, you are standing and watching the show. What is the use of the helmet? Why aren't you doing anything?"

In another video, in which her face was not visible, she is heard saying: "Why are you arresting me? Why didn't you arrest the people who were pelting stones?"

When contacted, Sadaf's sister Nahid Verma said she did not want to comment and added that "Congress leaders met her sister on Monday and they can tell better."

Earlier, in her FB post, Nahid had said, "My sister has been arrested from Parivartan Chowk. Totally uncalled for and cowardly action of the police! They have slapped charges like sabotage and attempt to murder on her while she was reporting live on how the police were complicit in sabotage at the dharna!"

"None of us were informed or apparently allowed her to talk to her family. The children are freaking out and so are we," her FB post adds. 

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