A Delhi court granted bail to a member of Pinjra Tod, a women’s collective, Natasha Narwal on 17th September. She was in judicial custody since her arrest on May 24 in connection with the Delhi riots case. The prosecution submitted videos of her alleged crime in the court but that wasn’t enough to prove that Narwal actually had instigated the violence, the court declared, according to a report by Live Law.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Narwal has been granted bail for the alleged crime that broke out in February, but not yet released from prison. She will remain in custody for a separate case related to the communal violence. Narwal is also booked under another first information report (59/2020) filed against her under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

Narwal is not free yet

While arresting her, the police had alleged that she was a “main conspirator and instigator of the riots”, which led to the death of a man. The complaint accused Narwal of allegedly organising an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest in Jaffrabad in North East Delhi.

She is presently being investigated in another FIR registered against her under UAPA. Declaring her bail, Judge Amitabh Rawat noted, “Certain videos were shown in the court by Special Prosecutor but the said videos show her being a part of unlawful assembly but do not show the accused indulging or inciting the violence.”

“The present bail application of accused is allowed and accused Natasha Narwal is admitted to bail on furnishing personal bond in the sum of Rs 30,000 with one surety to the like amount,” the judge observed.

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PRESS RELEASE 30th May, 2020 Natasha Narwal booked under UAPA Devangana booked in fresh FIR registered for the Lathi charge at Daryaganj Pinjratod activist and JNU student Natasha Narwal has been booked under UAPA under the same FIR as filed against Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider, Umar Khalid and others. Natasha has been sent to 4 days of judicial custody from the police custody she had been taken under, after the foisting of charges under UAPA in FIR 59/20 framing the primary charges by the police in the Delhi violence. Her remand order was argued against by the lawyers and the judge has reserved his order till tomorrow. Further in a complete travesty of justice, Devangana has been arrested under a new FIR number 250/19 which was filed at the time of the lathi charge on the Daryaganj protest on 20th December. This is the third FIR the Delhi police has charged her with. She has now been taken into police custody at the Daryaganj police station. This reveals the completely misinformed nature of the charges being made against the protesters. The Daryaganj protest was among the first massive protests against the CAA in Delhi, where Pinjratod members, among thousands of others joining the call, were caught in a brutal lathicharge by the Delhi police. They released an immediate witness account of the situation documenting the peaceful nature of the protest and the unprovoked brutal lathicharge on the same by the police and even got MLCs registered for the same. Apart from herself suffering injuries in the police lathi charge, it is important to note that the 16 other people accused in the Daryaganj FIR have all got bail. Along with a total inability to produce evidence of involvement in violence, the fact that 16 people accused have got bail and that as per Delhi high court rules, non-completion of investigation is not grounds for police custody, Devangana has been put under police custody. .. (contd. in comments)

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Why was she arrested?

Narwal and Devangana Kalita, were arrested earlier this year in May for rioting in Delhi and for their alleged role in communal violence in north-east Delhi. “We had enough evidence against Natasha Narwal in connection with a conspiracy case associated with the northeast Delhi riots that is being investigated by the special cell. So, we have formally arrested her with the permission from the court,” a senior police officer said, The Wire reported.

Kalita was also granted bail earlier this month. The JNU students are members of Pinjra Tod, which was founded in 2015, to oppose hostel curfews at Delhi’s colleges. Narwal is currently in Tihar central jail.

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