Mr. Bharti was arrested in August, and soon granted bail, over a Facebook post criticising Uttar Pradesh government for suspending IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal.

The National Human Rights Commission has directed the Uttar Pradesh police to act on a complaint that sought an inquiry into the arrest of Dalit scholar Kanwal Bharti.

Mr. Bharti was arrested in August for a Facebook post critical of the State government and senior Samajwadi Party leaders over the suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal. He was granted bail soon after the arrest.

Writing to the Director-General of Police, the NHRC has said the complaint should be “transmitted to the authority concerned for such action as deemed appropriate.”

Nutan Thakur, a social activist of Lucknow, had moved the NHRC for an immediate inquiry and strict action in the case. She said Mr. Bharti’s “arbitrary and hasty arrest” was an “open abuse of administrative power.” His comments were not in any way meant to spread communal animosity but were only an “intellectual assertion” of a sequence of events and administrative acts.

Mr. Bharti had been charged under Sections 153 and 295(A) of the IPC, which deal with “provocation with intent to cause riot” and “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.”

Despite media uproar, the cases filed against him have not been scrapped. He said he was not hopeful of justice from any inquiry by the State government. “If the police can lodge a complaint at [Cabinet Minister] Azam Khan’s orders, how can they hold an unbiased inquiry? The entire machinery belongs to the government.”

He has taken the battle to the Allahabad High Court. “I am hopeful of justice from the judiciary, not the State,” he said.

Dr. Thakur also prayed that Mr. Bharti be compensated for the hasty manner in which the First Information Report was filed and he was arrested. Since this was a “sensitive human rights matter,” she would “pursue it with the DGP for the sake of justice,” she said.