Video Editors: Sandeep Suman, Abhishek Sharma
"Our son is innocent. He hasn't committed any crime. He was framed. So, I was confident that he would get justice and walk out of jail soon."
A day after the Delhi High Court granted bail to Asif Iqbal Tanha, Devangana Kalita, and Natasha Narwal, accused under UAPA in the Delhi riots case, Asif's parents welcomed the judgment. The trio have been granted bail in all other cases involving them.
Tanha, Kalita, and Narwal were granted bail by the Delhi High Court on Tuesday, 15 June, in the case registered under FIR 59 – one of the Delhi riots cases that aims to unravel the alleged ‘large-scale conspiracy’ that the Delhi Police Special Cell has been probing.
'We Were Confident Our Son Would Walk Out of Jail'
Tanha, a student of Jamia Millia Islamia and an activist, was arrested on 17 May 2020 and subsequently charged for his alleged involvement in the North-East Delhi riots in the same year.
The Delhi Police Special Cell tried to make a case that the communal violence in the national capital, in which 53 people were killed and property worth crores were destroyed, was a “conspiracy” by activists protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
Tanha's father Mujibulla, thanking the court for ruling in favour of his son, said that he was confident Tanha would walk out of jail soon.
"“Asif has been in jail for a year. We are all very glad that he has got bail. We were confident that the court would rule in his favour. I thank all his friends and associates for being there with him, helping him. We were confident that he would get justice, be released, and return home.”" - Mujibulla, Asif Iqbal Tanha’s Father
'Praying Other Accused Are Also Released Soon'
According to the 17,000-page original charge sheet, the police tried to make the case of "conspiracy" around three WhatsApp groups, where anti-CAA protesters, student leaders, and intellectuals were active.
The initial sections imposed against the UAPA accused under FIR 59, including Asif Iqbal Tanha, were – 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), and 120B (criminal conspiracy). Later, several other sections were added, including UAPA.
While she's glad that her son got bail in all cases, Asif Tanha's mother Jahaan Ara prayed that the other accused who are yet to get bail, are released soon.
"“I am very happy that my son has got bail. Though the bail took a long time I was confident that my son would walk out of jail. We were confident that the court would rule in my son’s favour. I want all charges against my son dropped. While I am glad my son has got bail, I pray that the others who are yet to get bail are released soon.”" - Jahaan Ara, Asif Iqbal Tanha’s Mother
'Not a Terrorist Act': What Delhi High Court Said While Granting Bail to Asif Tanha
While granting bail to Tanha, the Delhi High Court said, "There is absolutely nothing in the subject charge sheet, by way of any specific or particularised allegation that would show the possible commission of a ‘terrorist act’ within the meaning of Section 15 UAPA."
Relying on past judgments of the Supreme Court, the order further pointed out that “legitimate dissent is a distinguishable feature of any democracy”.
"“There is absolutely nothing in the subject charge sheet, by way of any specific or particularised allegation, that would show the possible commission of a ‘terrorist act’ within the meaning of Section 15 UAPA; or an act of ‘raising funds’ to commit a terrorist act under Section 17; or an act of ‘conspiracy’ to commit or an ‘act preparatory’ to commit, a terrorist act within the meaning of Section 18 UAPA.”" - Delhi High Court Order
Delhi Police Moves Supreme Court Against Bail, Trial Court Orders Release of Trio
The Delhi Police approached the Supreme Court on Wednesday, 16 June, challenging the Delhi High Court judgment granting bail to Tanha, Kalita, and Narwal.
After not being released immediately on Tuesday, despite the Delhi HC order, the three had moved trial court.
The trial court in Delhi on Thursday has ordered the immediate release of the three activists after it was delayed citing procedural hurdles by the Delhi Police since Tuesday.
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