Delhi Riots case: HC grants bail to Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal, Asif Iqbal

New Delhi: A division bench of Justices Sidharth Mridul and Anup Jairam Bhambhani of the Delhi High Court today allowed bail to Asif Iqbal Tanha and Pinjra Tod activists Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita in the Delhi riots larger conspiracy case under UAPA. 

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

Narwal and Kalita, PhD scholars at Jawaharlal Nehru University, associated with the Pinjra Tod Collective, have also been in custody since May 2020. Recently Narwal was allowed interim bail to attend the last rites of her now deceased father. 

The Delhi High Court earlier reserved orders in Jamia Millia Islamia student, Asif Iqbal Tanha’s appeal against the rejection of his bail in connection with a case related to larger conspiracy in Delhi Riots that broke out last year. 

A division bench comprising of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Bhambhani reserved the order.

Tanha has challenged an order dated 26th October 2020 dismissing his bail plea who was arrested under the stringent UAPA. Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat rejected the bail application after prima facie observing that the case was maintainable against Tanha and that he allegedly played an active role in the entire conspiracy. 

Advocate Siddharth Agarwal appeared on behalf of the accused, Tanha whereas Aman Lekhi appeared on behalf of the State authorities before the Delhi High Court. 

In the FIR 59/2020, which was lodged by Delhi Police in the Delhi riots conspiracy case, a total of 15 people were named and Tanha, Narwal and Kalita were part of them. The police claimed that Tanha played an active role in orchestrating the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

It was also alleged he is a close associate of Safoora Zargar, Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam and others, and thet he is a “key members of anti-CAA protests and subsequent riots in the national Capital”. It was also submitted that Tanha conspired, along with others, to “overthrow the Government” by setting up a chakka jam (road blockade) in Muslim-dominated areas. 

Police also claimed that Tanha purchased a mobile SIM card by using fake documents and the same was used in planning the chakka jaam, riots etc and it was used to create a WhatsApp group. It was also claimed that the SIM was subsequently provided to another Jamia student and co-accused Safoora Zargar to organise further protests.