Delhi Police Book Yet Another Student Activist, Natasha Narwal, Under UAPA

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Activists of Pinjra Tod and students of Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Mohd Aasif | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Delhi Police, on Friday, booked Natasha Narwal, an activist associated with Pinjra Tod, under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The police claimed to have enough evidence to prove her alleged role in inciting the communal riots in northeast Delhi in February.

A student of JNU, Natasha was re-arrested by the special cell, a day after a Delhi court sent her and Devangana Kalita, another activist of Pinjra Tod, to Tihar Jail on a 14-day judicial custody in a case related to the communal violence that claimed more than 50 lives and left as many as 400 injured.

Pinjra Tod is a women collective that works for better hostel conditions and is best known for leading the struggle of woman students in Delhi and other parts of India. The members of the organisation were active participants in the anti-CAA movement.

 

Narwal is reported to be the latest 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.

On condition of anonymity, a source in the police department claimed that Narwal was arrested with 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,” the source added.

The group tweeted on 27 May, “At a time when the Supreme Court has ordered to decongest jails, arrest of students and activists is on the rise! Stop criminalising protestors! Release all political prisoners!”

The latest move of the Delhi Police comes against the backdrop of Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana cast doubts over the investigation into the cases involving student activities. While hearing an application for judicial remand of Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha, “The investigation seems to be targeted only towards one end.”

The judge recalled that the Investigation Officer failed to point out what investigation has been carried out regarding the involvement of the rival faction.

The comment of the sessions judge alludes to BJP leader Kapil Mishra and rightwing woman activist Ragini Tiwari, who were seen in videos openly instigating a crowd to resort to violence, are roaming free.

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. Even European Parliament’s human rights subcommittee wrote a letter to Home Minister Amit Shah making an impassioned appeal for immediate release of the prisoners of conscience during the pandemic.

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.

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