Bail denied for Pinjra Tod activists booked under UAPA

New Delhi: A Delhi court has dismissed bail pleas of Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, members of Pinjra Tod, a women's collective, in a case related to the north-east Delhi riots in February this year. Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat rejected the bail pleas of the two JNU students on July 14, on the grounds that their applications were meritless.

The court said in its order, that it was amply clear from the chargesheet that the investigation is still pending and it has been filed against other accused persons also. It further said that considering the investigation so far and the nature of the offence and the role being ascribed to the accused, there were no reasons at all to grant bail.

Narwal and Kalita were arrested in the case in May by the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police and booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including rioting, unlawful assembly and attempt to murder in addition to being charged under the stringent UAPA for allegedly being part of a "premeditated conspiracy" in the riots.

Advocate Adit S Pujari, appearing for the students, told the court that they have not been named in the FIR and no role has been attributed to them by the police in the case. The student's lawyer claimed that the allegations against them were false and the chargesheet has been filed in the case and the investigation is complete.

The prosecution said that during the anti-CAA protests, a "group of highly qualified women" including Narwal in a continuous process, directly or indirectly, instigated common Muslim people to protest against the Government of India stating that CAA is totally against the Muslims and by passing the law, the Centre may oust Muslims from India.

Pujari argued the judicial custody of Narwal and Kalita was extended on June 11 illegally by the Duty Magistrate as the accused were not produced before the Magistrate and the Investigating Officer had not shown the need for remand during the investigation.

"There is an extraordinary situation of COVID-19 which has to be factored into and if the accused is quarantined due to which she could not be produced, this fact by itself would not convince the court to grant bail to the accused on this ground," the court, however, noted after hearing final submissions.

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