On June 15, the Delhi High Court granted bail to activists Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal, and Asif Iqbal Tanha who were arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and on charges including rioting, unlawful assembly, and attempt to murder which connects with the communal violence that swept New Delhi in February 2020.
Along with 20 others accused, the three student activists were booked in the case connect with the “larger conspiracy” behind the Northeast Delhi riots. The bench, comprising Justices Siddharth Mirdul and A. J. Bhambhani, granted the three bail in all cases filed against them. They surrendered their passports and promised to not indulge in any activities that would cause harm to the case.
Both are Ph.D. students in the Jawaharlal Nehru University persuing women’s studies and historical studies. Natasha is facing trial in three cases and Devangana in four cases. Asif Tanha, a student of Jamia Millia Islamia University is also in custody since May 2020. “It seems, that in its anxiety to suppress dissent, in the mind of the State, the line between constitutionally guaranteed right to protest and terrorist activity seems to be getting somewhat blurred. If this mindset gains traction, it would be a sad day for democracy,” the court stated.