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Karkardooma Court Issues Release Orders For Activists Devangana Kalita And Natasha Narwal

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Natasha Narwal jail release: A Delhi Court on Thursday issued orders for the release of  Pinjra Tod activists Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Jamia Millia student Asif Iqbal Tanha  from Tihar jail in the Delhi riots conspiracy case. They were granted bail by the Delhi High Court on June 15.

The activists were released from Tihar jail on the evening of June 17, 2021.

Delhi Police had earlier filed a chargesheet in Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court decision to grant bail to the activists. The hearing of the same was held on June 18. The Supreme Court after hearing the plea submitted by the Delhi police said that the Delhi High Court ruling will not serve as a precedent for future cases. The activists will remain on bail for the time being as the vacation bench of the Supreme Court didn’t roll back the order.

An additional sessions judge of Karkardooma Courts had deferred orders on the release yesterday after Delhi police sought time to verify the addresses of the accused and sureties. Meanwhile, Kalita, Narwal and Iqbal Tanha had approached the Delhi High Court on June 17 again challenging the trial court deferring their release despite the bail granted to them. More here.

The three activists had been booked in the northeast Delhi riots conspiracy case filed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). As per reports, in the urgent applications filed before the court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, they contended that the trial court’s action was violative of their fundamental rights.

Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita are PhD scholars at Jawaharlal Nehru University, who are also associated with the Pinjra Tod Collective. Iqbal Tanha is a student of BA (Hons) (Persian) Programme at Jamia Millia Islamia.

Why were they arrested?

Kalita and Narwal were arrested a year ago for their alleged role in a premeditated conspiracy behind the communal violence that broke out in northeast Delhi in February 2020 during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). More on that here. A senior police officer had said that they had collected enough evidence against the activists in connection with a conspiracy case associated with the northeast Delhi riots and that they were being investigated by the special cell, The Wire reported. More on UAPA here.

The two JNU students are also members of Pinjra Tod, which was founded in 2015, to oppose hostel curfews at Delhi’s colleges.