The Delhi Police told the High Court on Thursday that a plea moved by Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita seeking copies of videos of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act was not maintainable, reported PTI. Kalita is an accused in the Delhi violence case.
The bench, headed by Justice Suresh K Kait, told the Delhi Police to file an affidavit in response to their claim and listed the matter for hearing on February 4. “Let the respondent [police] file an affidavit on the maintainability aspect within a week, with [an] advance copy furnished to the other side,” the court said. “Response thereto, if any, be filed within five days thereafter.”
The Pinjra Tod activist, in her plea filed through advocates Tusharika Mattoo, Adit S Pujari and Kunal Negi, had sought copies of videos of protests against the citizenship law and other electronic data available with the police in the matter that were filed along with the chargesheet in the case.
The activist’s counsel had earlier too in a trial court sought copies of a pendrive containing video clips between February 22 and February 26, a DVD containing video clips of the incident on February 25 and a CD containing photographs and video clips of the accused, a DVD containing video clips of the protests of January 5, 2020, and DVD containing video clips of Jaffarabad metro station between February 22 and February 23.
While Kalita was granted bail in the case related to the riots in Delhi’s Jaffrabad area in September, she is in judicial custody under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Kalita and another Pinjra Tod member Natasha Narwal were arrested on May 23 in connection with a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act in North East Delhi’s Jaffrabad area in February. 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. Narwal and Kalita were also booked under the UAPA for allegedly being part of a “premeditated conspiracy” in the violence.
Clashes had broken out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and 26 in North East Delhi, killing 53 people and injuring hundreds. The police were accused of either inaction or complicity in some instances of violence, mostly in Muslim neighbourhoods. The violence was the worst Delhi saw since the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.
The Delhi Police claim that the Delhi violence was part of a larger conspiracy to defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and was planned by those who organised the protests against the amended Citizenship Amendment Act. They also claimed the protestors had secessionist motives and were using “the facade of civil disobedience” to destabilise the government. The police have arrested several activists and students based on these “conspiracy” charges.