From Bail To Release: How Events Unfolded For Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita

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Natasha Narwal: In connection with the Delhi riots case, Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal were arrested in May 2020 and after over a year they were released from Tihar jail on June 17.

The activists were granted bail by the Delhi High Court along with Jamia Millia student Asif Iqbal Tanha on June 15. The Pinjra tod activists were booked in the Delhi riots conspiracy case filed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Narwal and Kalita were arrested in May 2020 for allegedly being part of a premeditated conspiracy in communal violence that broke out in Northeast Delhi in February 2020 amid the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

The Bench granted them bail on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and two local sureties and the High Court has directed the three accused to surrender their passports. According to Bar and Bench, they were instructed to not indulge in activities that could hamper the case investigation.

A timeline of events between the bail to their release from jail: 

-Previously, Natasha Narwal was granted bail in September 2020 by the court, however, she had to remain in jail as the UAPA still applied to her while Asif Iqbal Tanha had been out on interim bail to take his exams.

-On 15 June, the student activists Natasha Narwal, Asif Iqbal Tanha and Devangana Kalita were granted bail by Delhi High Court.

-In its order, the High court said, “It seems, that in its anxiety to suppress dissent, in the mind of the State, the line between the constitutionally guaranteed right to protest and terrorist activity seems to be getting somewhat blurred. If this mindset gains traction, it would be a sad day for democracy.” 

-The Delhi Police had moved the Supreme Court after the Delhi High Court granted bail to the accused, however, the Supreme Court said it was not satisfied with the Delhi High Court’s order.

-During the hearing for Delhi Police’s plea on June 18, SC said that the high court judgement will “not to be treated as precedent by any court” to give similar reliefs. However, the bail granted to the Pinjra Tod activist would not be affected for the time being, said the vacation bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian.

-They argued in the Additional sessions court asserting that they need more time to verify the permanent addresses of the accused. 

– Additional Sessions Judge Ravinder Bedi dismissed the plea saying that it “cannot be a plausible reason for the accused to be kept imprisoned”. 

-The release order for the accused was issued via email on Thursday after being delayed since Delhi police asked for time to verify their permanent address. Later, challenging this, the three accused approached the court on June 17.

-Pinjra Tod activists Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal and Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha finally walked out of the Tihar Jail after two days of Delhi High court granting bail. 

-After the release on Thursday evening, Natasha Narwal told the reporters that they received immense support from the jail inmates. “I am not fully happy on walking out of the jail due to my father’s death,” she said.