The Delhi Police on Wednesday told the High Court that they had not selectively leaked details of the allegations against Pinjra Tod member Devangana Kalita, contrary to the accusation made by her, PTI reported. Kalita, along with her fellow activist Natasha Narwal, was arrested in a case related to the large-scale communal violence that took place in the Capital in February.
The police claimed that details of the charges against Kalita were instead released by members of the Pinjra Tod, a women’s rights collective, on social media. The police said the purpose of their press release, issued on June 2, was to clarify some claims made by the group.
Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, representing the Delhi Police, told the court that Pinjra Tod had used expressions like “stop the criminalisation of dissent and persecution of democratic activists” and “massive Hindutva machinery” in reference to action against Kalita and said that the communalisation of the police force was not acceptable.
“For these comments the press note was necessary and it was issued only once and that too for the purpose of correction,” Lekhi told the court. “The occasion of the press note was not to attack, it was to correct the process. It is a press note which has gone to 480 persons, who are part of the Whatsapp group of police and media persons.”
Kalita had filed a petition in the Delhi High Court, accusing the police of selectively leaking the details of the accusations against her and evidence gathered in the case to media outlets. In its affidavit in response to Kalita’s plea, the Delhi Police had said last week that she was “guilty of peddling of a false narrative of a political vendetta, state-sponsored pogrom, persecution and malicious prosecution,” according to Live Law. The court had raised questions about the Delhi Police’s allegations.
On Tuesday, a court in Delhi rejected Kalita’s fellow activist Narwal’s petition for a court-monitored probe in the case, according to PTI. She had been charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act in May.
Pinjra Tod, a women’s rights collective, is accused of organising the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Jafrabad metro station in Delhi in February. A group of around 500 women had protested against the new amended law at the metro station.
Narwal and Kalita were first arrested on May 23. A day later, they were granted bail in the matter by a court in Delhi. Immediately after the court’s order, the Delhi Police moved an application to interrogate the two activists and arrested them in a separate case related to the violence. They were charged with attempt to murder, rioting and criminal conspiracy.