The Delhi Police Saturday arrested two members of Pinjra Tod, a women’s student organisation, in connection with their alleged role in the anti-CAA Jafrabad sit-in protest in February this year. DCP (Northeast) Ved Prakash Surya confirmed the arrests.
The Jafrabad sit-in had prompted a pro-CAA rally by BJP’s Kapil Mishra on February 23. A day later, riots broke out in Northeast Delhi.
The two activists, Devangana Kalita (30) and Natasha Narwal (32), are students of JNU and were arrested from their homes, a Pinjra Tod member said.
A senior officer said, “An FIR regarding the Jafrabad sit-in protest had been registered earlier. The women have been arrested under IPC sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty).”
Police said officers from the New Delhi Range of Special Cell were questioning Narwal when local police from Jafrabad station came and arrested her.
In a statement, Pinjra Tod said the women were arrested around 6 pm. “They were arrested from their homes in an FIR registered by Jafrabad police station, after interrogation by the Special Cell… Police did not give reasons to their families for their arrest,” the organisation claimed.
“Many students and activists have been arrested by Delhi Police in the last few months. We strongly condemn the witch hunt of democratic activists and students being carried out by the state and appeal to the student community and democratic-minded citizens to remain vigilant … in our struggles in face of this repression,” it added.
While Kalita is an MPhil student at the Centre for Women’s Studies, Narwal is a PhD student at the Centre for Historical Studies. They are both founding members of Pinjra Tod, formed in 2015, primarily in opposition to hostel curfews at Delhi’s colleges and universities. Kalita and Narwal have done their graduation from DU’s Miranda House and Hindu College, respectively.
Police had earlier arrested Jamia Millia Islamia student Safoora Zargar in connection with the Jafrabad sit-in. Zargar, who is pregnant, has been booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and is in jail.
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