Devangana Kalita, an activist from Pinjra Tod (a women students group) who was arrested on June 5 for her alleged role in North East Delhi riots, has been denied bail on Friday, August 28.
“I have no hesitation to hold that there is reasonable ground for believing that accusation against accused are prima facie true,” Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat, Karkardooma Court, said while dismissing her bail application.
Communal riots had engulfed a large part of North-East Delhi for three days from February 24 after an ongoing protest against The Citizenship (Amendment) Act passed in 2019. The communal mayhem witnessed over 50 deaths and hundreds injured.
Post riots, four FIRs were lodged against Kalita and the present case relates to FIR 59 in which it has been alleged that the riot was a preplanned, multi-layered and deep-rooted conspiracy.
Currently lodged in Tihar jail, Kalita argued in her bail application that expression of dissent is not an offence under the law.
Her lawyer Adit S Pujari told the court that the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) would not apply for any activity against the government but will be attracted if it is an offence against India.
“Moreover blockage of road would not per se be covered by UA(P)Act,” the order said while recording Pujari’s submission.
Arguing that the police only relied upon the statement of witnesses without any corroboration, Pujari said that the prosecution hasn’t filed any video to substantiate their assertion regarding the involvement of the accused in the conspiracy, though it is the best evidence.
“Moreover the stringent provision of bail would not be attracted since there is no conspiracy and there is wrong invocation of UA(P)Act in the present case,” Pujari argued praying for bail.
However, the special public prosecutor, Amit Prasad, contradicted Pujari’s argument and told the court, “There is adequate material on record to suggest that the role of the accused in the conspiracy and riots in Delhi.”
Prasad further argued, as recorded by the court, "During the course of the investigation technical and manual evidences were collected and it was further revealed from the investigation that an accused Devangana Kalita played an important role in spreading recent Delhi riots by way of road blocks, hate speeches, instigating protesters to get violent against the Govt. of India.
Agreeing with Prasad, the court said that the provision of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 has been rightly invoked in the present case.
The court held that the statements of protected witnesses “do reflect the role of many accused persons including accused Devangana regarding the protest sites and how everything was planned.”
“Moreover, the assertion that the accused herself physically and directly did not resort to violence as understood in common parlance would not be germane in the context of various acts committed by different individuals including accused in the commission of riots,” the judge held.
“The accused had planned and done chakka-jam resulting in riots as part of the plan. The statements clearly point out the role of the accused Devangana as also other co-accused persons and various action taken by them in pursuance of the conspiracy,” judge Rawat said in its order adding that the details of the witnesses are not being stated in details so as not to hamper investigation at this stage.
In another case, the Delhi High Court has recently reserved judgment on Kalita’s bail application.