Delhi HC grants bail to Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Asif Iqbal Tanha

A division bench of Delhi High Court on Tuesday allowed bail to Jamia Millia Islamia student leader Asif Iqbal Tanha and Pinjra Tod activists Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita in the Delhi pogrom conspiracy case.

The bench ot Justices Sidharth Mridul and Anup Jairam Bhambhani reserved the order.

“In its anxiety to suppress dissent, in the mind of the State, the line between 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,” Delhi High Court observed during the hearing.

The court has also found that offences under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) are not made out prima facie against student leaders Asif Iqbal Tanha, Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita in the conspiracy case.

“…the right to protest is not outlawed and cannot be termed as a ‘terrorist act’ within the meaning of the UAPA, unless of course the ingredients of the offences under sections 15, 17 and/or 18 of the UAPA are clearly discernible from the factual allegations contained in charge-sheet and the material filed therewith” court observed.

The student leaders booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) were at the forefront of the nationwide anti-Citizenship Amendment Act movement that shed light on India’s new discriminatory policies.

FIR 59/2020, which investigate the conspiracy behind 2020 Delhi pogrom which took at least 54 lives. The investigation is harshly criticised as a guise to stifle dissent.

Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider, Sharjeel Imam, Khalid Saifi, Umar Khalid and Gulfisha Fatima are among the 15 booked under UAPA in FIR59. The 17000 page primary charge-sheet and the two supplementary charge-sheets name dozens of activists and political leaders as instigators of violence but remain silent of the explicit truth of involvement of Hindu militant groups.

Advocate Siddharth Agarwal appeared on behalf of Tanha.

Bail is subject to personal bond of Rs 50,000 and two local sureties. conditions of bail includes all three surrendering their passports and not indulging in activities that would hamper the case.

Narwal and Kalita are research scholars at Jawaharlal Nehru University and has been under judicial custody for over a year. Narwal recently lost her father due to COVID-19.