Delhi HC granted Bail to Asif Tanha, Natasha and Devangana Trio were unjustly put behind bars on false charges – SIO

The Delhi High Court granted Bail to Asif Iqbal Tanha, Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal on Tuesday in a Delhi Riots case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. (Asif Iqbal Tanha vs State) (Devangana Kalita vs State) (Natasha Narwal vs State).

According to Bar and Bench, Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup J Bhambhani pronounced the order.

A personal bond of Rs 50,000 and two local sureties are subject to Bail. The conditions for Bail are the three must surrender their passports and not indulge in activities that would hinder the case.

Tanha’s bail order stated, “…though during trial the State will no doubt attempt to marshal evidence and make good the allegations made against the appellant, as we speak now these are mere allegations and, as discussed above, we are not convinced prima facie of the veracity of the allegations so made.”

The high court also seemed to concerned about the nature of these allegations, asserting in the Narwal and Kalita’s bail orders, “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.”

This case refers to the Delhi police inquiry into the “larger conspiracy” that led to the riots in the state’s North-East part in February 2020.

Asif Iqbal Tanha is a student at Jamia Millia Islamia, pursuing his final year of B.A. (Hons.) (Persian) Programme. In May 2020, he was arrested in the Delhi riots case under UAPA and since then, has been in continuous custody.

Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita are Ph.D. scholars at Jawaharlal Nehru University and are connected with the Pinjra Tod Collective. Since May 2020, they have also been in custody.

According to Delhi Police, after the Citizenship Amendment Act, Tanha, Kalita and Narwal, along with other charged persons, planned to cause turmoil of such an extent and magnitude at the national capital, leading to chaos and disturbance of law and order at an unparalleled scale.

As part of a pre-planned conspiracy, Pinjra Tod members prompted women in the North-East area of the city and initiated a 24/7 protest site at Seelampur’s Madina Masjid.

The charge sheet stated that the day for coordinated chakka jaam and inciting violence was chosen as there could not have been any greater international embarrassment for the Government of India than to have a communal riot in the national capital during the time of the U.S. President visit.

For Kalita and Narwal, Advocate Adit S Pujari, including Tusharika Mattoo and Kunal Negi appeared. For Tanha, Senior Advocate Siddharth Aggarwal along with Advocate Sowjhanya Shankaran, Siddharth Satija, Abhinav Sekhari, Nitika Khaitan appeared.

The state was represented by ASG SV Raju , including SPPs Amit Mahajan, Amit Prasad and Rajat Nair.

President of Students Islamic Organisation of India(SIO), Mohammad Salman Ahmed welcomed the bail granted to Tanha, Kalita and Narwal by Delhi High Court in Delhi Riots case. “The trio were unjustly put behind bars over a year ago on false charges in an attempt to suppress the young leadership of anti-CAA movement and shift blame for the Delhi pogrom,” he added.

He also said how glad he was because the high court called out the hollowness of the bogus conspiracy charges against young activists.

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