Actor-activist Sadaf Jafar, who was arrested last month in Lucknow while she was doing a Facebook Live session during protests against the citizenship amendment act, has been granted bail by a court in Uttar Pradesh's capital. Former Indian Police Service officer SR Darapuri, a cancer patient, who was arrested from his house in Lucknow last month, has also been granted bail.
Ms Jafar was accused of rioting. The local court judge in the bail order said that the Lucknow Police have said there was no evidence so far of arson or violence against Ms Jafar.
Ms Jafar's lawyer Harjot Singh said she was "falsely implicated" in the case.
"We have been saying from the beginning that Sadaf was totally innocent. The interesting thing was even the public prosecutor yesterday couldn't produce any single evidence that could link my client to the allegations. We are grateful to the honourable court... This case was a misuse of power by the state government because Sadaf was simply a bystander. It is clear from the videos and all the evidence that she had no role in rioting or vandalism," Mr Singh said.
Ms Jafar's last bail plea was rejected by a court in Lucknow on December 24. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been demanding Ms Jafar's immediate release. The actor-activist is also a Congress spokesperson.
In Facebook videos widely shared on social media before she was arrested, Ms Jafar was heard telling policemen in Lucknow's Parivartan Chowk, "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 is not visible but her voice can be heard, she is heard saying, "Why are you arresting me? Why didn't you arrest the people who were pelting stones?"
High drama unfolded on December 29 when Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was stopped from visiting the house of the retired IPS officer SR Darapuri, who got bail today. Ms Vadra accused Lucknow Police personnel of grabbing her neck and pushing her to the ground while trying to prevent her from visiting the retired IPS officer's house.
Violent protests had broken out across Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere in the country after the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill sailed through both houses of parliament last month. Over 25 have died in the protests across the country.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act for the first time makes religion the test of citizenship in India. 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.