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Court orders immediate release of Natasha, Devangana, and Iqbal

Delhi Police registered a total of 751 FIRs related to the riots. The police had refused to make public the documents related to the Delhi riots

Ground Report | New Delhi: Natasha, Devangana, and Iqbal; A Delhi court on Thursday ordered the immediate release of student activists Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita, and Asif Iqbal Tanha. All three were arrested in May last year. All three were very vocal in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The police had made him an accused under the UAPA Act in the riots in North-East Delhi in February last year.

The Delhi High Court had granted bail to all three of them on Tuesday but still did not come out of jail. Narwal and Kalita are activists of the Pinjra Tod movement and Iqbal Asif is a student of Jamia. On Thursday, Additional Sessions Judge Ravinder Bedi of Delhi’s Karkardooma Court dismissed the Delhi Police’s plea seeking three more days for release.

The court rejected the argument of verifying the permanent address of the accused of the delay in release. The court has said in its order, “This is not an acceptable argument for allowing him to remain in jail even after bail.”

The reasoning of the police was that verification is taking time. The three student activists had approached the Delhi High Court after they were not released on bail before this order of the Delhi Court. They have said in the court that it is a violation of law to not release despite bail.

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The Delhi High Court’s bail was challenged by the Delhi Police in the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The Delhi Police in its petition filed in the Supreme Court has said, “The Delhi High Court while granting bail to the accused has failed to understand the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of National Investigation Agency vs Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali. The Delhi High Court not only conducted a mini-trial of the case but also came to a conclusion that is contrary to what came on record and the arguments made during the hearing of the case.

There was a clash between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those who opposed it between 23 February and 26 February 2020. According to the Delhi Police’s affidavit filed in the High Court on July 13, 40 of those killed were Muslims and 13 were Hindus.

Delhi Police registered a total of 751 FIRs related to the riots. The police had refused to make public the documents related to the Delhi riots. Police argue that much information is ‘sensitive and hence cannot be uploaded on the website. Delhi Police said this on June 16 in response to a petition filed by CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat in the High Court.

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In such a situation, gathering information related to the investigation of the riots in North-East Delhi has been a challenge, but the BBC has tried to understand the modalities of the investigation by collecting documents like court orders and FIR-charge-sheets related to the investigation.

This is a list of people who were arrested on the basis of separate FIRs but later their names were added to the FIR-59 of the UAPA, in this case, Umar Khalid is the only person whose name was already in that FIR.

Khalid Saifi – United Against Hate

Ishrat Jahan- Former Congress Councilor

Safoora Zargar – MPhil student, Jamia

Meeran Haider – PhD student, Jamia

Gulfishan Fatima- MBA student, Ghaziabad

Shadab Ahmed – Jamia Student

Shifa-ur-Rehman- Jamia Alumni

Natasha Narwal – JNU student, member of ‘Pinjra Tod’

Devangana Kalita – JNU student, member of ‘Pinjra Tod’

Asif Iqbal Tanha- Jamia Student

Umar Khalid – Former JNU student

Sharjeel Imam – JNU Student

Tahir Hussain – Former ‘AAP’ councilor

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