The Delhi high court granted bail to Asif Iqbal Tanha, Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal in Delhi riot case on Tuesday, 15th june 2021. The three were arrested and taken into custody on the account of “larger conspiracy” that led to riots in North East Delhi in February 2020.
Asif who is a BA Persian final year student of Jamia Millia Islamia was arrested in May 2020 as a suspect of conspiring the Delhi riots. He was booked under UAPA and was in the custody since then. Devangana and Natasha are research scholars at Jawaharlal Nehru university, who were also arrested in the case and were in custody since May 2020.
The court granted them bail contesting, “Should this court then wait until the appellant has languished in prison for long enough time to be able to see that it will be impossible to complete the deposition of 740 prosecution witnesses in foreseeable future, especially in the view of the prevailing pandemic when all proceedings in the trial are effectively stalled?”
The Bail is subject to personal bond of Rs 50,000 and two local sureties. Conditions for bail include the three surrendering their passports and not indulging in activities that would hamper the case.
The National President of Student Islamic Organisation of India, Mohammad Salman Ahmad welcomed the decision and said,
“We are glad that the honorable court called out the hollowness of the bogus conspiracy charges against young activists. We hope that this verdict will serve as a precedent in curbing the long and unjust incarceration of innocent persons under draconian laws.
We pray to Almighty that all the political prisoners languishing in jail will be acquitted and released soon, and the true culprits of the Delhi pogrom will face justice.”
The judgment comes as a sigh of relief for many in the face of draconian laws like UAPA. Many other young scholars and activist suffer behind the bars who are falsely accused and slapped with these laws, the bail granted by the Delhi high court has given a ray of hope to restore faith in the judiciary.