A court in India has granted bail to the 2 female activists. Police arrested them in May 2020 due to a citizenship law protest. Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita came forward to join the sit-in last year against the very controversial citizenship law. It took place just a day before the deadly riot took place in Delhi.
They were present among the several protesting of the activists. Their charges fall under the stringent anti-terrorism law. The two-judge bench has criticized the governments for confusing the right to protest with terrorism.
With a much strongly-worded order, the high court in Delhi said, “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.”
The government of Prime minister Narendra Modi has got an accusation of using the pandemic for cracking down on dissent. It is a colonial-era sedition law along with an anti-terrorism law which is making it nearly impossible for the accused ones to get bail. Jail activists, protesters, and journalists widely use it.
On Tuesday, the court also came up with the grant for the bail to Asif Iqbal Tanha. He is a student activist. He was arrested in May last year. However, he has got an accusation of participating in the protests days before the rioting.
Ms Narwal got interim bail for citizenship law protests in May for three weeks to participate in the last rites of her father. Mahavir Narwal is the senior leader of the Communist Party of India. He has died due to COVID-19 related complications.
Ms Narwal and Ms Kalita are both in their early 30s. They are the founding members of Pinjra Tod, which is a popular student movement. It enables women to reclaim public spaces. This movement has started the journey to challenge the unreasonable curfew timings which the DU women hostels have imposed. The rule says the male hostel members have permission to stay out until midnight while women have to return to their accommodation by evening.
These two activists took part in a peaceful protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The law has sparked a massive protest in northeast Delhi. These two activists attended these movements. This protest soon turned into a deadly riot which has killed 53 people who are mostly Muslims.