The Delhi High court on September 1 allowed the bail plea filed by Devangana Kalita in a case related to the Delhi Riots filed against her by the Delhi Police.
Devangana Kalita, an M.Phil student at Jawaharlal Nehru University, was one of the founding members of Pinjra Tod, a collective of women students and university alumni from across Delhi, who seek to lessen restrictions, such as curfews, placed on female students.
She was actively involved in organizing and protesting against the CAA since it was passed in December 2019. She was arrested, along with another Pinjra Tod member Natasha Narwal, for taking part in an anti-CAA sit-in protest at Jafrabad in February this year.
The Jafrabad anti-CAA protest had prompted BJP leader Kapil Mishra to give an incendiary speech demanding that the protestors be made to leave, following which, anti-Muslim violence had broken out in north-east Delhi. The protest Kalita and Narwal were involved in was peaceful.
They were first arrested in May, released on bail, and then arrested again within one day. An Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat had rejected their bail pleas on June 14, on the ground that there was no merit in the applications.
Kalita, who is an accused in as many as 4 FIRs relating to the anti-CAA protests and Delhi riots was granted bail in FIR No. 50/2020 and is subject to her furnishing a bond of Rs. 25,000. She had argued that there was no evidence to show her participation in rioting or violence and did not feature in the CCTV footage collected by the Delhi Police, and was not named by the co-accused in his statement either. The Delhi Police said that the demonstrations in which she had participated were part of the “conspiracy to lower the country’s image” when US President Trump was visiting India.
The Single Judge Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait granted bail to Devangana Kalita, observing that her participation in a peaceful agitation was a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution of India, and that the Delhi Police had failed to provide any evidence to prove that the acts she was accused for had taken place.