The Delhi Police’s Special Cell on Friday ‘arrested’ Pinjra Tod activist and Jawaharlal Nehru University student Natasha Narwal who was already in custody and booked her under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Delhi Police had arrested two far-left activists of Pinjra Tod, Natasha Narwal and Devangna Kalita, recently for their role in stoking communal violence during the anti-Hindu riots in north-east Delhi in the last week of February this year. The riots had claimed 53 lives and left more than 400 injured.
The special cell re-arrested Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita today, a day after a Delhi court sent the two accused to Tihar Jail for 14 days for their involvement in the anti-Hindu riots.
Metropolitan Magistrate Kapil Kumar sent Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita to judicial remand after the police said their custody was no longer needed for the probe.
Narwal was first arrested last Saturday along with another activist, Devangana Kalita, for taking part in a peaceful protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act outside Jafrabad metro station on 22 Februrary, 2020.
On 23 May, the Special cell of Delhi police had arrested two women named Natasha and Devangna in the North-east Delhi riots case. Both the women are founding members of Pinjra Tod, which was established in 2015.
However, a day later, the two accused were granted bail by the court in the case, but they were arrested soon by the Crime Branch of the Delhi police in a separate case related to the violence. They are currently in judicial custody till 11 June.
Earlier, Delhi Police special cell had issued notice to 50 members of the Jamia coordination committee, former office bearers of Congress’ student union, National Student union of India, far left ‘activist’ group Pinjra Tod for their connection with rioting and criminal conspiracy pertaining to anti-Hindu riots in north-east Delhi.
Narwal is the seventh person to be booked under UAPA in the case in which suspended Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain and two Jamia students — Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar — are in judicial custody. A police officer privy to the investigation, who did not wish to be named, said, “Narwal was arrested since there is enough evidence to establish the charges against her. The decision to book and arrest Kalita would depend on how much evidence we collect against her.”
Jamia Millia Islamia students Asif Iqbal Tanha and Gulfisha Khatoon, Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar and Meeran Haider, President of Jamia Alumni Association Shifa-Ur-Rehman, suspended AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain, former Congress municipal councillor Ishrat Jahan and former student leader Umar Khalid have also been booked under the anti-terror law in the case being investigated by the Special Cell of the Delhi police.
A Delhi court dealing with cases related to the northeast Delhi riots, being handled by the Special Cell of the Delhi police, observed on 27 May that “the investigation seems to be targeted only towards one end”.
Communal violence had broken out in northeast Delhi on 24 February, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured. BJP leader Kapil Mishra, who gave an open call to violence ahead of the riots, is yet unbooked.
As many as 567 activists, professionals from various fields, prominent citizens and rights organisations have jointly released a statement condemning the arrests by Delhi Police.