A Delhi court on Wednesday rejected the bail petitions of student-activist Gulfisha Fatima and educational consultant Tasleem Ahmad in a case pertaining to the riots that took place in the national Capital in 2020.
Fatima and Ahmad had been booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act case related to the Delhi riots, Live Law reported.
Communal violence had broken out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing the law in North East Delhi between February 23 and February 26, 2020. The violence claimed 53 lives and hundreds were injured. The majority of those killed were Muslims.
In his orders to reject the bail petitions of Fatima and Ahmad, Judge Amitabh Rawat noted that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the accusations against both of them were prima facie true. He said that Section 43D of UAPA Act and Section 437 of the Code of Criminal Procedure do not allow granting bail in such cases.
While separate orders have been issued for Fatima and Ahmad, the court cited same reasons in both cases to refuse bail.
The judge also said that the counsels of the accused persons relied heavily on the bail granted by the Delhi High Court to student activists Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Asif Iqbal Tanha on June 15.
He said the counsels had argued that Fatima and Ahmad were in similar situation as Kalita and Narwal and so bail must be granted on the grounds of parity.
The court, however, pointed out that the Supreme Court had said in an order dated June 18 that the bail to Kalita and others should not be treated as a precedent.
Fatima was arrested on April 9, 2020, for participating in the Jaffrabad protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act and charged under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code. She was granted bail in this case on May 13, 2020.
She was also granted bail in another case related to the Delhi riots in November 2020. However, she remained in judicial custody as she was charged in the case about the alleged conspiracy behind the riots.
Police claim that the North East Delhi violence was part of a larger conspiracy to defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. They have also alleged that it was planned by those who organised the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act at several places across Delhi.
Meanwhile, the police have claimed that Ahmad was part of a small, core group that set up a protest site in Seelampur in North East Delhi, which later became a flashpoint and trigger for the February 2020 violence. Lawyer Mehmood Pracha, however, claimed that Ahmad was just an ordinary citizen protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Fatima and Ahmad’s bail rejection comes two days after the same court granted bail to former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan in the case.