A Delhi court Thursday granted bail to Pinjra Tod member Natasha Narwal in connection with the riots in Jafrabad, observing that there was no specific allegation of threat to witnesses and that the videos shown in court do not show her indulging in or inciting violence.
Since Narwal has not been granted bail in a separate UAPA case related to the riots, she will not be released from jail.
Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat granted bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 30,000, with one surety of the same amount. She has been directed not to get in touch with any witnesses, tamper with evidence or leave Delhi without the court’s permission.
The court said videos played by the investigating officer show she was part of an unlawful assembly, but “do not show the accused indulging or inciting violence”, while also accepting that it was mindful of the fact that there were statements made under CrPC Section 161 by witnesses against her.
It observed, “Prosecution can’t say that till witnesses are examined, accused can’t be released on bail. There is no specific allegation of threat to witnesses, who are, in any case, protected and their identity concealed.”
During the hearing, police submitted to the court that the accused chose Jafrabad area “calculatively” to start a communal clash.
The Special Public Prosecutor argued that from February 22 to 26, 4-5 calls were made between Umar Khalid and the two Pinjra Tod members, Natasha and Devangana Kalita.
“All their mindsets are the same to disturb the place, create riots… I am not saying that the whole riots were scripted by these two girls. But they played a vital role to execute this script,” the SPP argued.
The court also said the accused was booked in the UAPA case, “however, that case is under specific legislation and investigated separately and thus will be dealt with accordingly. At this stage, only bail is to be considered and not acquittal or conviction. Moreover, she is not a flight risk and the witnesses are police officials only or protected witnesses.”
In this case, police had also added sections of murder following the death of 18-year-old Amaan, who was hit by a bullet which allegedly ricocheted off a Metro pillar on February 25 at Jafrabad.
A total of 11 persons were chargesheeted in this case along with Pinjra Tod members Narwal, Kalita and Jamia Millia Islamia student Gulfisha.
The Delhi High Court had earlier granted bail to Kalita, noting that, “investigating agency had failed to produce any material that she in her speech instigated women of (a) particular community or gave hatred speech due to which precious life of a young man has been sacrificed and property damaged”.
Narwal’s counsel Adit Pujari had said police have not placed any material before the court that Narwal would tamper with evidence or influence witnesses.
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