8 Beaten By UP Cops in Saharanpur Viral Video Leave Jail As Court Clears Them

Police had at first questioned the authenticity of the video that showed two policemen hitting the men with sticks

Video was shared by a BJP MLA with the caption "return gift for rioters".

New Delhi:

Eight men assaulted in custody by the police in a viral video after protests in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur last month have been cleared of any charges. After the police said there is no evidence against them, and the local court discharged them, they walked out of jail yesterday.

This means their names are no longer in the FIR initially filed against 85 people for a violent protest over now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma's remarks against Prophet Muhammad and Islam.

Among the men now "honorably discharged" by court is Mohammed Ali, who had his arm fractured in the assault.

Police had at first questioned the authenticity of the video that showed two policemen hitting at least nine men with sticks while they begged and tried to block the blows. Uttar Pradesh BJP MLA Shalabh Mani Tripathi had shared the video on Twitter with the caption "return gift for rioters".

An investigation by NDTV led to the police eventually ordering an inquiry into the video. "That inquiry is still underway," said Superintendent of Police (City) Rajesh Kumar.

Yogi Adityanath's BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has come under severe criticism over alleged "extra-judicial" action against protesters.

Saharanpur was among several cities, including Delhi and Ranchi, that saw protest over remarks by two BJP representatives — since-suspended spokesperson Nupur Sharma and since-expelled Delhi BJP media head Naveen Jindal — triggered an international row last month. 

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets and shops were closed in several parts of Uttar Pradesh in particular, including Moradabad and Prayagraj. In Lucknow, Kanpur and Firozabad, police tightened security and took out marches.