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Delhi HC Grants Natasha Narwal Three Weeks' Interim Bail After Father's Death

Natasha has been held in Tihar Jail as an undertrial for the past year.

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Monday granted three weeks’ interim bail to student-activist Natasha Narwal, after her father Mahavir Narwal passed away due to COVID-19.

She will have to furnish a personal bond of Rs 50,000 before her release, Bar and Bench reported.

Natasha had earlier asked for interim bail as her father was severely ill. “In the pleading, we had sought interim bail on the ground that the father is down with COVID-19. Unfortunately, he passed away last evening. The brother also has COVID,” her lawyer, Adit Pujari, said at Monday’s hearings.

The state did not oppose the interim bail plea.

“Shri Mahavir Narwal is survived only by Akash Narwal (brother) who is in self isolation owing to COVID 19 and Natasha Narwal. Therefore, there is nobody else in the family to perform the last rites and cremation,” the court noted in its order, according to Bar and Bench.

“In view of the foregoing and interest of justice, we are of the view that the release of applicant is imperative in this hour of grief and personal loss. We accordingly release Natasha Narwal on three weeks interim bail,” it continued.

Natasha, an activist with the women’s group Pinjra Tod and a student of Jawaharlal Nehru University, was arrested by the Delhi Police on May 30, 2020 under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or UAPA, shortly after a Delhi court granted her bail in a case in which the police had merely accused her of shouting slogans. Under UAPA, the grant of bail is extremely difficult.

Natasha, who has been held in Tihar Jail as an undertrial for the past year, is one of several activists involved in the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act to be charged by the police with hatching a conspiracy to foment communal violence in Delhi in February 2020 with the aim of overthrowing the Narendra Modi government. Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita has also been held in jail for the same period.