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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Bail for Natasha Narwal came ‘too late’, say friends: ‘Heartbreaking that she couldn’t see her father’

"They say justice delayed is justice denied. We have a very good example of that. The bail application was initially filed keeping in mind that her father was not well," Akash Bhattacharya, a friend of Natasha, said.

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi |
Updated: May 10, 2021 10:40:39 pm
Narwal with Natasha and son Aakash (Express)

Friends of jailed Pinjra Tod activist Natasha Narwal Monday said the interim bail given to her by the Delhi High Court to attend her father’s cremation on Monday came “too late”. Her father Mahavir Narwal died of Covid at Rohtak, Haryana, on Sunday.

Natasha’s interim bail on grounds of her father’s failing health was filed on Friday was but finally heard Monday. The order in her petition for regular bail has been reserved since April 27.

Akash Bhattacharya, who teaches at Azim Premji University at Bengaluru and has been a friend of Natasha’s for a decade, said: “They say justice delayed is justice denied. We have a very good example of that. The bail application was initially filed keeping in mind that her father was not well. The hearing has happened after he has passed away. These are not normal circumstances. Everybody’s families are suffering due to Covid, and bails, paroles and release on humanitarian grounds should be considered on an urgent basis.”

Shambhawi Vikram, another friend from Pinjra Tod, said: “Uncle had been risking everything and he would make it to every court hearing so we were constantly worried. When we heard he’s got Covid, we filed an application. We were hoping that he would pull through the weekend but it didn’t happen. The relation they shared was not just a father-daughter relationship but it was based on friendship and love which was inspiring for all us.”

“Even though the order today is strong and clear about the court recognising that it is imperative that she be given bail, it is too late,” she said.

Akhila Singh, a childhood friend, said: “Her brother is also down with Covid. It’s heartbreaking that the father and daughter couldn’t see each other one last time.”

Pinjra Tod in a statement said Natasha’s father had “wearied himself for this moment”.

“As Natasha Narwal walks out of prison tonight on a three-week interim bail provided by the Delhi High Court, one cannot rejoice despite having waited to see her for close to a year. Justice indeed has come so late as to have been denied forever. The father who she is going to cremate wearied himself for this moment: when she would walk out of jail and into the warmth of his arms, not the horror of his cold body,” Pinjra Tod said in its statement.

“Prisons right now are not only spaces of punitive confinement, but have become death traps for inmates where so many are unwell and without adequate medical attention. At the same time, when families have been left to fend for themselves, to deny undertrials the right to care for their loved ones, and their families to be denied their presence is itself a wrong that cannot be remedied,” they said.

Demanding release of all undertrials and political prisoners during the “global health crisis”, Pinjra Tod said, “The least the state can do is release these undertrials to make sure that justice is not delayed and denied in the case of the many more families after the Narwals.”

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