Delhi Police arrests two Pinjra Tod members in connection with Jafrabad anti-CAA protests; families not given reason for arrest

FP Staff

Two members of the women's rights collective Pinjra Tod were arrested by the Delhi Police on Saturday evening in connection with the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Jafrabad held in February.

Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, the Jawaharlal Nehru students who were arrested, founded Pinjra Tod, which seeks to make regulations for hostel and paying guest (PG) accommodation less restrictive for women students. "An FIR regarding the Jafrabad sit-in protest had been registered earlier. The women have been arrested under Indian Penal Code 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]," a police official told Indian Express.

The report added that officers from the New Delhi Range of Special Cell were questioning Narwal when local police from Jafrabad station came and arrested her.

In a post on Facebook, Pinjra Tod said, "The police did not give reasons to their family members for their arrest. Many students and activists have been arrested by the Delhi Police in the last couple of months. We strongly condemn this hounding of democratic activists and students being carried out by the state and appeal to the student community and all democratic minded citizens to remain vigilant and strong in our struggles in face of this repression."

The arrested members are scheduled to appear in court on Sunday, India Today reported. While Kalita is an MPhil student at the Centre for Women's Studies, Narwal is a PhD student at the Centre for Historical Studies.

Police had also arrested Jamia Millia Islamia student Safoora Zargar in connection with the Jafrabad sit-in. Zargar, who is pregnant, is currently in jail after being booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Earlier this week, Delhi Police arrested Jamia Millia Islamia University student Asif Iqbal Tanha in connection with the Delhi riots. Several others were also arrested in connection with the protests and violence after home minister Amit Shah told the Parliament in March that those responsible will not go scot-free.

Pinjra Tod has been accused of organising anti-CAA protests outside the Jafrabad metro station, in which around 500 people had participated. BJP leader Kapil Mishra had given a three-day ultimatum to the Delhi Police on 23 February to clear the protest. A day later, communal clashes erupted in north east Delhi, leaving 53 people dead and over 200 injured. The police made more than 800 arrests by 13 April in connection with the violence, according to Indian Express.

Meanwhile, Mishra, who had held a pro-CAA rally and had faced punitive action ahead of the Delhi Assembly elections owing to his communally insensitive statements, has not faced any action. His supporters too have not undergone the police scanner.

The widespread protests against the citizenship law were cleared as the coronavirus cases continued to increase. The Shaheen Bagh protest, considered the anti-CAA movement's epicentre, were cleared after 101 days on 24 March.

Also See: NIA summons Assam journalist for questioning in connection to Akhil Gogoi's involvement in December anti-CAA protests

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