Delhi riots: Student activists Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita walk out of Tihar jail on bail

Source: PTI | Published on 17th June 2021, 8:20 PM | National News |

New Delhi: Student activists Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita walked out of Tihar prison on Thursday, hours after a court here ordered their immediate release in the northeast Delhi riots "conspiracy" case.

The order came two days after the Delhi High Court granted bail to Narwal, Kalita and Asif Iqbal Tanha, who were arrested in May last year under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

A senior jail official said Kalita and Narwal have been released from the Tihar prison as per court orders received. Asif Iqbal Tanha will be released around 7.30 pm after the completion of formalities, he said.

The three student activists were not released from the prison on time over delays in verifying their addresses and sureties.

In its order for the immediate release of the trio, the Delhi court said the delay in the verification process by the police could not be a plausible reason for the accused to be kept imprisoned.

After securing bail from the high court, the activists had moved a trial court, seeking immediate release from prison.

When the trial court deferred the order on their plea for Thursday, they moved the Delhi High Court, which ordered the lower court to proceed with the issue with "promptitude and expedition".

The three student activists were arrested in May 2020 and are accused of being the "masterminds" of the February 2020 violence, which left 53 people dead and more than 200 injured.

The high court, while granting them bail on June 15, had observed that "in an anxiety to suppress dissent, the state has blurred the line between the right to protest and terrorist activity" and if such a mindset gains traction, it would be a "sad day for democracy".

The Delhi Police have, however, moved the Supreme Court, challenging the high court judgement granting them bail in the case. 

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