The Delhi Police rearrested two members of Pinjra Tod, a women’s rights collective, on Sunday in a separate case minutes after they were granted bail, reported PTI.
The Delhi Police had initially arrested Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita on Saturday in connection with the protests opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act in North East Delhi’s Jaffrabad area in February. Sunday’s arrest was related to an alleged murder case linked to the riots. They were sent to two days in police custody.
Just minutes after the court granted bail to them, Kuldeep Singh, the investigating officer of the Crime Branch, moved an application seeking the duo’s formal arrest in the murder case. The police sought 14 days’ custody, saying the accused have to be thoroughly interrogated “to know the conspiracy behind the incident and the identity of other accused has to be established”. The police informed the court that both have disclosed their involvement in the second case and are named in the disclosure statement of the co-accused.
The counsel for the accused opposed it, saying that Narwal and Kalita were implicated in the case with “mala fide intent”, reported The Indian Express.
The case was registered under sections 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 283 (danger or obstruction in public way), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 332 (causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 307 (attempt to murder), 302 (murder), 427, 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 188 (disobedience of public servant’s order) of the Indian Penal Code and other relevant sections of the Arms Act and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
A group of around 500 people, mostly women, had protested outside the Jaffrabad metro station against the amended law.
On February 23, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra had held a rally in favour of the Citizenship Act. He had also given the Delhi Police a three-day ultimatum to clear the protests. A day later, communal violence engulfed North East Delhi, leaving at least 53 people dead and hundreds injured over the next three days.
The police made more than 800 arrests by April 13 in connection with the North East Delhi violence, according to The Indian Express. An unidentified official was quoted as saying that the Union home ministry “insisted that police must continue making arrests under any circumstances”.
Scroll.in examined a few cases closely to find a troubling pattern: often victims of the violence were being prosecuted by the police. Many lawyers and activists say the lockdown to contain the coronavirus spread has reduced scrutiny of the police investigation and impaired access to justice for those arrested.
Sunday’s bail order
Metropolitan Magistrate Ajeet Narayan granted bail to Narwal and Kalita in the rioting case after each of them furnished a bond of Rs 20,000.
“Facts of the case reveal that the accused were merely protesting against the NRC and CAA, and the accused did not indulge into any violence,” the court said. “Also, the accused have strong roots in the society and they are well educated. Accused are ready to cooperate with the police regarding the investigation.”
The judge said both the accused need to cooperate and join the further investigation as and when required. “They shall not commit an offence similar to the offence which he has committed,” he said. “The accused shall not make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquaintance with the facts of the case.” it said.
Narwal and Kalita are students of Jawaharlal Nehru University and founding members of Pinjra Tod. They were arrested from their homes around 6 pm on Saturday, Pinjra Tod said in a post on Facebook. “The police did not give reasons to their family members for their arrest,” it added. “Many students and activists have been arrested by the Delhi Police in the last couple of months. We strongly condemn this hounding of democratic activists and students being carried out by the state and appeal to the student community and all democratic minded citizens to remain vigilant and strong in our struggles in face of this repression.”