Delhi Police Say Kalita's Plea to Access Videos of Anti-CAA Protests 'Not Maintainable'

The police were responding to Devangana Kalita's plea in the high court, seeking electronic data on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests available with them.

New Delhi: The Delhi police told the high court that a plea moved by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student and Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita, accused in a case related to northeast Delhi riots, seeking copies of videos of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was not maintainable.

The issue regarding the maintainability of the plea was raised before Justice Suresh K. Kait by additional solicitor general S.V. Raju, appearing for the Delhi police.

“Let the respondent (police) file an affidavit on the maintainability aspect within a week, with advance copy furnished to the other side. Response thereto, if any, be filed within five days thereafter,” the court said and listed the matter for further hearing on February 4.

Kalita, in her plea, filed through advocates Adit S. Pujari, Tusharika Mattoo and Kunal Negi, has sought copies of videos of protests against the CAA and other electronic data available with the police in the matter, which was filed along with the charge sheet in the case.

While Kalita is in judicial custody in the case under the stringent anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), she has been granted bail in the case related to the riots in the Jaffarabad area.

Also read: Don’t Have Videos of Devangana Kalita Instigating Violence During Riots: Police to HC

Earlier, before the trial court, Kalita’s counsel had sought copies of a pen drive containing video clips between February 22–26, 2020; a DVD containing video clips of the incident on February 25, 2020, and a CD containing photographs and video clips of the accused; DVD containing video clips of protests of January 5, 2020, and DVD containing video clips under Jaffarabad metro station between February 22–23, 2020.

The violence that began in northeast Delhi on February 24 last year as clashes between supporters and opponents of the citizenship law soon spiralled into communal clashes, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

Kalita has been named in four FIRs related to the Delhi riots, including one invoking the stringent UAPA. A Delhi court had dismissed Kalita’s bail plea in the UAPA case, though her lawyer had argued that the Act had been wrongly invoked and no case was made out under it.

Kalita was arrested on May 23, 2020, in a case related to rioting in northeast Delhi. While the court had granted her bail the next day in the case, she was arrested by the crime branch in connection with a murder case related to the riots.

On May 30, 2020, she was arrested in a case related to violence in old Delhi’s Daryaganj area in December 2019. The court had granted bail to her in the case.

She was rearrested and slapped with the UAPA in early June 2020 for her alleged role in inciting the communal riots.

Pinjra Tod was founded in 2015 with an aim to make hostels and paying guest accommodations less restrictive for women students.

(With PTI inputs)