POLITICS
23/06/2020 3:07 PM IST | Updated 24/06/2020 11:40 AM IST

Safoora Zargar Granted Bail On Humanitarian Grounds In Delhi Riots Case

The Delhi Police arrested Safoora Zargar on 10 April.

Courtesy Safoora Zargar's family.
Safoora Zargar, a sociology student at the Jamia Millia Islamia University, was arrested in connection with the Delhi Riots on 10 April.

NEW DELHI ― The Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted Jamia Millia Islamia University student Safoora Zargar bail in connection with a Delhi Riots case. 

Zargar, a 27-year-old sociology student, who is five months pregnant, had been incarcerated in Tihar Jail since April. 

Speaking to HuffPost India a few minutes after Delhi High Court Judge Rajiv Shakdher granted Zargar bail, her husband Saboor Ahmad Sirwal said, “I’m still digesting the news.” 

The MPhil student had actively opposed the Modi government’s controversial Citizenship Amendment (CAA) law during the anti-CAA movement that had gathered momentum in the weeks and months before the riots. 

The Delhi Police has accused her of conspiring to instigate the communal riots that claimed 52 lives in the last week of February. 

Zargar has been booked under at least 20 sections of the Indian Penal Code, including for murder and sedition, two sections of the Arms Act, and four sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), India’s draconian anti-terror law.

Judge Shakdher said his order granting bail on humanitarian grounds to the Zargar, who is now 23 weeks pregnant, should not be considered a precedent. 

The Delhi Police, which reports to the Modi government, was so eager to imprison Zargar that they first arrested her on 10 April amidst a nationwide lockdown to stem the transmission of the deadly coronavirus. 

Zargar was denied bail by Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana on 4 June. Her lawyer Trideep Pais had argued that she was 21 weeks pregnant at the time and suffered from health conditions that could endanger her life and that of her child. 

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for Delhi Police in a video-conference hearing on Tuesday, said the Delhi Police had no objection to releasing her on humanitarian grounds as long as she did not indulge in any of the activities for which she had been arrested. 

The Delhi Police on Monday had argued that pregnancy was not a ground for bail, there had been 39 deliveries in Delhi prisons in the past 10 years, and the jail authorities were taking precautions to protect Zargar against the coronavirus. 

Judge Shakdher laid out several conditions for granting her bail. 

Zargar, Shakdher said, should neither interfere with the police investigation or try and influence witnesses. He also said that she should not leave the National Capital Region without seeing permission from the relevant court.