Jamia Millia Islamia University student Asif Iqbal Tanha had challenged a trial court’s order dismissing his bail application.
Student activists Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Asif Iqbal Tanha have been granted bail by Delhi High Court. They are accused in the northeast Delhi riots case filed under the stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Granting the bail, a bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and A J Bhambhani said that the line between the right to protest and terrorist activity seems to be getting blurred. “We are constrained to express, that it seems, that in its anxiety to suppress dissent, in the mind of the State, the line between the constitutionally guaranteed right to protest and terrorist activity seems to be getting somewhat blurred. If this mindset gains traction, it would be a sad day for democracy,” said the court. The bail was granted subject to furnishing Rs 50,000 personal bonds with two local sureties each.
The court also directed that a copy of the order be supplied to the counsels of the accused persons expeditiously. Devangana Kalita has four cases registered against her while three cases have been framed against Natasha Narwal. The court also directed the accused persons to provide their phone numbers to the local SHO and inform the police in case of a change of residence. They have also been asked not to contact witnesses or tamper with the evidence.
Jamia Millia Islamia University student Asif Iqbal Tanha had challenged a trial court’s order dismissing his bail application. The trial court had said that Tanha allegedly played an active role in the entire conspiracy and added that there are reasonable grounds for believing the allegations against him to be prima facie true.
On the other hand, the Delhi Police opposed his bail in the High Court stating that the riots were premeditated and Tanha was a part of the conspiracy.
Tanha’s counsel contended that he was neither present in Delhi during the riots nor did he visit any of the rioting and violence sites. The counsel said that there was no physical evidence connecting Tanha to the riots and no allegations with respect to any funds being received by him for terrorist activities.