Delhi Riots Case: Delhi Court orders release of three student activists

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Thursday ordered the release of North Delhi riots accused student activists– Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Asif Iqbal– from the jail.
A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup Jairam posted the hearing for 1530 hrs, saying it will wait for the trial court’s order on police plea, seeking more time for the verification.
On Wednesday, Additional Sessions Judge Ravinder Bedi of Karkardooma Courts deferred orders on their release after Delhi police sought time to verify the addresses of the accused and sureties.
Police had stated that the outstation permanent addresses of student activists Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita and Asif Iqbal Tanha need to be verified for the purpose of their release.
“The ‘outstation permanent address’ verification of all accused persons is pending and could not be completed due to paucity of time,” the Delhi Police said in the application filed before the Court.
It also sought directions to the UIDAI to verify the Aadhar card details of the sureties.
The Court had earlier sought a verification report yesterday after the counsel for Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal moved the Court seeking immediate release after the High Court granted them bail.
This morning, the students approached the Delhi High Court arguing that the Trial Court delaying their orders in spite of the bail granted by the High Court was a violation of their fundamental rights.
On June 15, the accused were granted bail by the Delhi High Court which had accused the state of blurring the line between the constitutionally guaranteed right to protest and terrorist activity.
“We are constrained to say, that it appears, that in its anxiety to suppress dissent and in the morbid fear that matters may get out of hand, the State has blurred the line between the constitutionally guaranteed ‘right to protest’ and ‘terrorist activity’. If such blurring gains traction, democracy would be in peril,” the order had stated.
Meanwhile, yesterday, the Delhi Police moved the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court order granting bail to the student activists booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for an alleged ‘premeditated conspiracy’ in the northeast Delhi riots last year.
In its appeal against the order, the Delhi Police said that they are not satisfied with the interpretation of the provisions of UAPA by the High Court in a matter concerned with the grant of bail.
“We are proceeding with the filing of a Special Leave Petition before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India,” the police stated.
Narwal and Kalita, research scholars at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi and also the members of ‘Pinjra Tod’, a collective of students from colleges in Delhi, were lodged in Tihar Jail since May last year.
Asif Iqbal Tanha is a final year BA student at Jamia Millia Islamia. He was arrested in the Delhi riots case under UAPA in May 2020 and has been in continuous custody since then.
The police claimed that Tanha played an active role in orchestrating the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
On February 24, 2020, communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.