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Kalita, Narwal's release deferred but joy & relief among kin of all 3

Kalita, Narwals release deferred but joy & relief among kin of all 3
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New Delhi: As the Delhi High Court on Tuesday cleared the way for Pinjra Tod activists Natasha Narwal and Devengana Kalita, and Jamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha to be released from custody, a local court here later in the day deferred the immediate release of both Kalita and Narwal after it sought a verification report from the police.

The court said that it had deferred the plea for want of verification of their addresses and sureties.

Additional Sessions Judge at Karkardooma Courts Revinder Bedi has now sought a verification report from Delhi Police as soon as possible, preferably by 1 pm today (Wednesday).

And while the release of the two JNU scholars has been deferred, Asif Tanha is already out of jail and is being housed at a hotel as he had secured interim bail to study for his exams. The High Court order for his bail clarifies that it superseded the previous order — meaning he can now return home after finishing bond-related paperwork, without having to go back to prison.

But despite the students' return home being delayed by a few more hours, there was happiness, relief and joy among their family members, fellow activists and friends.

"We are all very happy and are eagerly waiting for him to come back. It took a lot of time for this to happen. We have been waiting for this to happen for more than a year. But it was the efforts and prayers of everyone that made this happen. His exams are going on, which will continue to June 26," Asif Tanha's sister Zeenat Fatima told Millennium Post.

While Kalita's mother Kalpana Kalita told reporters that the family was extremely happy, they were still in a state of disbelief. She said the family had already prepared for the long haul and was very excited when they heard the news.

Meanwhile, Narwal's family welcomed the order, some calling it "powerful". Her brother told reporters, however, that there was a sense of sorrow as well among family members as they keep thinking of how happy Natasha's father Mahavir would have been to see this moment.

Remembering Dr Mahavir, Pinjra Tod said, his "presence is sorely missed in this moment. His prophetic words find realisation in the HC order that dissent is a decent act."

Natasha's father had recently succumbed to Covid-19 while waiting for courts in Delhi to let his daughter visit him for one last time. Eventually, after Mahavir's death, Natasha was allowed interim bail to conduct the last rites, following which she had surrendered back to jail here.

Co-accused in the case and fellow anti-CAA activist and Jamia student Safoora Zargar also tweeted on the bail to the three as fellow activists, students and friends hailed the judgment as a "victory for democracy".

Meanwhile, the president of the Students' Islamic Organisation, of which Asif Tanha is a part, also welcomed the decision. "We are glad that the honourable court called out the hollowness of the bogus conspiracy charges against young activists. We hope that this verdict will serve as a precedent in curbing the long and unjust incarceration of innocent persons under draconian laws," he said.

(With inputs from Nikita Jain)

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