Delhi Police on Friday told the High Court that it does not have any video where Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita can be seen making speeches instigating people during the communal violence in north-east Delhi earlier this year.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S.V. Raju, appearing for the police, however said that Ms. Kalita’s call date records (CDR) placed her at the location of the riots on the date of occurrence.

The ASG said that the riots were pre-planned and part of a larger conspiracy to malign the image of the country at a time when US President Donald Trump was to come here. The ASG said that since a large number of persons were involved in the riots, it is not possible that everyone comes in video footage.

During the hearing conducted through videoconferencing, Justice Suresh Kumar Kait asked the investigating officer if he had recorded any incendiary speech given by Ms. Kalita during the riots. “I want to know what she said which instigated the mob,” Justice Kait said.

Distance factor

The investigating officer replied that she was making the statement a kilometre away and there was a mob of about 10,000 people with no media presence. To this, Justice Kait asked how the investigating officer managed to hear what she was speaking one kilometre away. The investigating officer replied that the SHO (Station House Officer), who had gone near Ms. Kalita, heard her making speech instigating people.

The High Court was also informed that the local SHO had specifically informed Ms. Kalita about the implementation of Section 144 in the area on the day of the riots and had asked her to disperse the crowd.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Ms. Kalita, contended that she was only protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and that police do not have any evidence to show Ms. Kalita’s participation in rioting or violence.

Mr. Sibal said that Ms. Kalita was not denying that she participated in the protest. But the police have to show any video in which she was part of a violent crowd. He said that Ms. Kalita neither featured in any of the CCTV footage collected by police nor was her name taken by the co-accused in his statement. Seeking bail for Ms. Kalita, Mr. Sibal argued that she is an academician and a research scholar and has already been granted bail in two cases.

ASG Raju, on the other hand, argued that the academic record of a person is not required for considering bail. The ASG further stated that Ms. Kalita cannot claim parity with the other cases in which she has been granted bail. After hearing both the parties, Justice Kait reserved his order on the bail plea.

Ms. Kalita is currently facing four different FIRs connected with the anti-CAA protests in Jaffrabad, north-east Delhi riots and violence in Daryaganj during a protest against the new citizenship law.

Ms. Kalita was first arrested on May 23, along with fellow JNU student Ms. Natasha Narwal, in connection with an FIR registered on February 24 over the sit-in protest at Jaffrabad Metro Station against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Delhi Police has also invoked sections of the stringent anti-terror law — Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in a separate case related to the communal violence against Ms. Kalita for allegedly being part of a “premeditated conspiracy” in the riots.

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