By LE Desk

New Delhi, June 17, 2021: A Delhi court today issued the release warrant for Jawaharlal Nehru University students and activists Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, and Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha, who were arrested in May last year in connection with the northeast Delhi riots.

Additional Sessions Judge Ravinder Bedi rejected the Delhi police’s argument that it needed more time to verify the permanent addresses of the three accused. “I would say that this by itself cannot be a plausible reason for the accused to be kept imprisoned till the time such reports are filed,” the judge remarked.

“The accused is directed to be released forthwith as per orders of the Delhi High Court,” the court said, reported The Hindu.

Earlier in the morning, the High Court directed the trial court to “proceed with promptitude and expedition” on the pleas filed by Kalita, Narwal and Iqbal seeking immediate release from jail.

“Our orders enlarging the applicants [Kalita, Narwal and Iqbal] on bail is already been rendered by us. It needs to be implemented. This cannot be an open-ended process,” the High Court had said.

Both Kalita and Narwal, who were arrested in connection with the northeast Delhi riots last year, were granted bail by the Delhi High Court on Tuesday. Following this, they had moved the local court for securing immediate release order.

In the meantime, the Delhi Police has moved the Supreme Court challenging the High Court verdict granting regular bail to the three students who were booked under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or UAPA.

While granting bail, the High Court gave the Delhi Police a dressing-down for “casually” invoking provisions of anti-terror laws against the three who had protested against the enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

“We are constrained to say, that it appears, that in its anxiety to suppress dissent and in the morbid fear that matters may get out of hand, the State has blurred the line between the constitutionally guaranteed ‘right to protest’ and ‘terrorist activity’,” the High Court had remarked.

The High Court also ruled that no offence under the UAPA was made out against any of the three students.

Kalita has been named in four FIRs filed in connection with the riots. She was arrested on May 23 last year. She had already got bail in three of the four FIRs, before the High Court also granted her bail in the UAPA case.

Narwal has three separate FIRs lodged against her arising from her alleged involvement with the protests against the CAA and the NRC. She, too, was arrested on May 23 last year, and had already secured bail in the other two FIRs.

Tanha was first arrested on May 19 last year in connection with the UAPA case. He already has secured the court’s order for bail in another case.

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