Delhi HC grants bail to Jamia student leader Safoora Zargar

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday allowed bail to Safoora Zargar, Jamia Milia Islamia University student leader who was under custody for alleged conspiracy behind Delhi riots, after the Central Government stated that it had no objection to her release on humanitarian grounds, Live Law reported.

There were widespread concerns raised about the incarceration of Zargar, who is in the 23rd week of her pregnancy, in the overcrowded Tihar prison amid COVID-19.

This is the fourth time that lawyers of Zargar were moving court for bail ever since she was arrested on 10 April.

The arrested student leader and Anti-CAA activist has to furnish a personal bond of Rs 10,000 and follow conditions instructed by HC.

Zargar will have to seek permission of the concerned court before leaving Delhi for any purpose, court said.

Court also instructed Zargar that she should not indulge in activities she is being investigated for and should refrain from hampering investigation.

Court further notes that this bail order shall not be cited as a precedent either in this case or in any other case.

Nitya Ramakrishnan has appeared for Zargar while SG Tushar Mehta and ASG Aman Lekhi have appeared for the state.

SG Tushar Mehta submited that the state agrees, on humanitarian ground, to release Zargar on regular bail subject to certain conditions, Live Law reported.

Mehta said that without going into the merits of the plea, and without considering this as a precedent, state has no problem with Zargar being released on bail provided she doesn’t indulge in activities she’s being investigated for.

Other conditions put forward by state include that Zargar should remain in Delhi.

Zargar’s lawyer Nitya Ramakrishnan submited that Zargar will have to be allowed to visit her doctor who lives in Faridabad.

Meanwhile, Justice Shakdher noted that this tug of war between who should represent Delhi Police should not jeopardise the relief sought by the accused, according to Live Law report.

In reply, Mehta told court that he has been appointed by the LG to represent Delhi Police in these cases.

‘Every hearing should not become ugly due to these arguments’, Mehta submited.

Delhi Police had arrested Jamia Millia Islamia student leader and Jamia Coordination Committee member Safoora Zargar under UAPA charges in Northeast Delhi violence case on 10 April.

Along with Zargar, Jamia student leaders Meeran Haider and Asif Iqbal Tanha, Jawaharlal Nehru University students and Pinjra Tod activists Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, former Delhi Municipal Councillor Ishrat Jahan, Gulfisha, an MBA student and a coordinator of the women-led sit-in in Seelampur-Jafrabad against CAA, the president of the Alumni Association of Jamia Millia Islamia (AAJMI) Shifa-Ur-Rehman, Aam Admi Party leader Tahir Hussain and United Against Hate activist Khalid Saifi were also arrested under the same charges in the case.

Currently, all are in jail in the national capital Delhi and were denied bail.

Police accused the anti-CAA activists of being key “conspirators” in the Delhi pogrom that erupted in 2020 February. The pogrom is widely acknowledged to have been sparked by incendiary comments made by Kapil Mishra, a BJP leader, about Muslims peacefully protesting against ‘anti-Muslim and unconstitutional’ citizenship law. Video evidence and witness accounts pointed to police allowing Hindu mobs to roam the streets freely to target the Muslim community.

International human rights watchdogs including Amnesty International and civil society groups, teachers associations, student organizations, and filmmakers across India had issued different statements calling for the release of Safoora Zargar and anti-CAA activists who were ‘targetted by Hindu nationalist government for protesting anti-Muslim laws’ and ‘arrested under false accusations by Delhi Police.’