A Delhi Court onTuesday extended the police custody of Pinjra Tod activists, Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, by two more days in relation with an FIR registered alleging conspiracy behind riots in North East Delhi on February 24.
They were arrested by Delhi police on May 23, in connection with an FIR relating to anti-CAA protests at Jafrabad on February 23.
Though the Magistrate had granted bail to them on May 24, observing that they were merely protesting, the Crime Bracnh of Delhi police sought their custody in another FIR relating to Delhi riots.
The two women were first arrested in relation to FIR No. 48/2020 registered by Jafrabad police for offences under IPC sections such as 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 341(wrongful restraint), and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty).
The Duty Magistrate, Ajeet Narayan, noted on May 24 that the only non-bailable offence in the FIR was Section 353 IPC, which was not prima facie attracted.
He had also observed that the accused were merely protesting against the NRC and CAA without violence, and have strong roots in the society and are well educated.
However, this relief was short-lived. As the Judge orally communicated that he would grant bail with regard to the present case, the Investigating Officer from Delhi Police Crime Branch, R K Puram, immediately moved an application seeking their 14 days custody in relation to another FIR. That was FIR No. 50/2020, registered for offences under Sections 302(murder), Section 307 (attempt to murder), Section 120B(criminal conspiracy) etc of the IPC, offences under Arms Act and also the Prevention of Destruction of Public Property Act.
Considering that the investigation in this case was in its initial stages, the Judge directed their custody to be given to the Crime Branch for two days. It was further ordered that their medical examination would be conducted as per rules, and that Narwal and Kalita would be produced before concerned Court again on Tuesday, May 26.
This remand was further extended by two more days on Tuesday.
Police alleged that the two women were part of the anti-CAA sit-in protest held under Jafrabad Metro station on February 22-23. BJP leader Kapil Mishra had publicly stated that his followers will clear the protesters if the police did not act. Riots broke out in the region a day later.
"Pinjra Tod", founded in 2015 by, started as a movement against curfews in girls hostels and gradually emerged as a collective taking up causes related to women's emancipation. Kalita ,an MPhil student at JNU's Centre for Women's Studies and Narwal, a PhD student at the Centre for Historical Studies, are its founding members.