Delhi police on Sunday rearrested and sent to custody two women activists of ‘Pinjda Tod’, a women students’ collective, in a separate case minutes after a court granted them bail.
Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita were initially arrested by the Delhi Police on Saturday in connection with the protests opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act in North East Delhi’s Jaffrabad area in February. However, a Delhi court granted them bail, saying that IPC Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) invoked against them was “not maintainable”, and that they were “merely protesting against NRC and CAA”.
Minutes later, the Delhi police arrested them related to an alleged murder case linked to the riots. They have been now sent to two days of police custody.
The duo was arrested after two hours of interrogation at their homes on May 23 for offences under Indian Penal Code’s Sections 109 (Punishment for abetment), 186 (Obstructing public servant), 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 353 (Assault) and 34 (Common intention).
Thereafter, the duo was produced before the Duty Magistrate Ajeet Narayan which granted them bail under FIR 48/2020 holding that “the accused were merely protesting against NRC and CAA and did not indulge in any violence”.
However, the moment the magistrate observed orally that he was going to grant bail, police officials moved an application seeking arrest of Devangana and Natasha under another FIR 50/2020 and police custody for 14 days. The court, however, gave police their custody for only two days.
“Considering the facts and circumstances of the case and the initial stage of investigation, both the accused remanded to two days police custody. Accused to be produced to concerned court on May 26,” the court noted.
The lawyers for Devangana and Natasha argued for their release, while opposing the application of the investigating agency.
Her counsel had sought bail in the earlier FIRs contending that the offences under which they were arrested were bailable, except Section 353. They added that despite almost 90 days having elapsed since the date of registration of the FIR, the local police decided to arrest Devangana and Natasha without even a notice under section 41A.
Several students and activists have been arrested by the Delhi Police in the last one month for their involvement in anti-CAA protests and alleged conspiracy in Delhi riots.