The Delhi High Court on Friday sought response from the Aam Aadmi Party government and the police on appeals of Pinjra Tod members Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal against the dismissal of their bail pleas related to the violence that broke out in the Capital in February last year, reported Bar and Bench. The activists were booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
A division bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup J Bhambhani issued notice on the pleas and listed the matter for hearing on March 10. Advocate Adit S Pujari, appearing for the accused, argued that the investigation in the case was “tainted”, reported PTI.
A court in Delhi had on January 28 rejected the bail pleas of Kalita and Narwal, saying the allegations against both of them prima facie seemed to be true and that the provisions of the anti-terror law have been rightly invoked.
Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat had said that there was sufficient incriminating evidence against Narwal. In Kalita’s case, the judge had said she was part of a “multilayered conspiracy”.
Kalita and 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 last year. 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.
Clashes had broken out between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and 26 last year in North East Delhi, killing at least 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 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.