A Delhi court on Tuesday granted bail to Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita for a first information report filed against her in connection with the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act violence in New Delhi in December, Bar and Bench reported.
Kalita is already in judicial custody in connection with an FIR registered against her for her alleged role in the anti-CAA protests at Jaffrabad Metro Station in New Delhi in February. On May 30, the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police arrested Kalita in the December case. She was subsequently remanded to three days in police custody.
With the custody expiring on June 2, the counsel for the Delhi Police moved an application before Duty Metropolitan Magistrate (Tihar Jail) Abhinav Pandey, seeking to send Kalita to judicial custody for 14 days. The judge granted the request as it was unopposed.
However, immediately thereafter, the counsel for Kalita appeared before the court and moved an application seeking bail. The counsel argued that he could not appear before the court because the investigating officer did not inform the defence about the timing of the hearing.
The court, in its ruling, said that until now, there was no evidence that Kalita engaged in the actions ascribed to her by the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police. “CCTV footage also reportedly does not show the accused to be involved in any violent activity,” the court said. “Accused is not a habitual offender or a previous convict and the other criminal proceedings pending against it relates to same or similar incidents.”
The court set conditions for the bail – it ordered Kalita to furnish a personal bond of Rs 30,000 backed by two sureties of like amount. But Kalita will continue to remain in jail due to her arrest in the Jaffrabad protest case.
Along with Kalita, fellow Pinjra Tod member Natasha Narwal had been sent to 14-day judicial custody on May 29 in connection with the violence in Delhi in February, which had killed at least 53 people. Narwal has been charged under the stringent amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The Delhi Police first arrested the two on May 23. A day later, a Delhi court granted Narwal and Kalita bail in the matter. But immediately, the Delhi Police moved an application seeking to interrogate them and arrested them in a separate case related to the violence. They were charged with attempt to murder, rioting and criminal conspiracy.
The two are students of Jawaharlal Nehru University and founding members of Pinjra Tod, formed in 2015 with the aim to make hostels and paying guest accommodations less restrictive for women. The collective was formed after Jamia Millia Islamia University issued a notice barring women students from staying outdoors after 8 pm.