Activist Safoora Zargar finally granted bail by Delhi High Court but conditions apply
The 27-year-old activist, who is more than four months pregnant now, was arrested by the Delhi police Special Cell on April 10 and is facing charges under the stringent UAPA in connection with the Delhi riots.
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday allowed bail to Jamia Coordination Committee member and activist Safoora Zargar, under custody for alleged conspiracy behind northeast Delhi riots, after Delhi police stated that it has no objection to her release on “humanitarian grounds”.
Safoora Zargar, 27-year old pregnant student of Jamia Milia Islamia University, was arrested on April 10 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act over the riots that broke out in February during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Her arrest and incarceration provoked strong condemnation from students and activists and sharply divided social media. There were also widespread concerns about Zargar's health, who is in the 23rd week of her pregnancy and has been incarcerated in the overcrowded Tihar jail amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The activist was granted bail on the conditions of furnishing personal bond of Rs 10,000 and follow some conditions. Firstly, she should not indulge in activities she is being investigated for or are an infraction of law and secondly, she should not hamper investigation or influence witnesses. She also has to take the permission of the concerned court before leaving the territory of Delhi. Not only that, she has to get in touch with the Investigating Officer once in every 15 days through a phone call.
She was granted a regular bail by a bench headed by Justice Rajiv Shakhdher after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Delhi police, submitted that without going into the merits of the plea, and without considering this as a precedent, the State has no problem with Safoora being released on bail on ‘humanitarian grounds’.
Delhi police takes a u-turn
On Monday though, the Delhi police had opposed the bail of Zargar, maintaining that pregnancy is no ground for bail citing that there have been 39 deliveries in Tihar Jail in the last 10 years. Submitting its status report in the Delhi High Court, Delhi Police maintained that her pregnancy does not dilute the gravity of her alleged offence and that she is being given adequate care in the jail.
In the status report, the Delhi police reiterated their claim that Zargar was complicit in a "sinister design" to create unrest by stoking communal tension with the ultimate objective of "destroying, destabilizing and disintegrating the Government of India in order to compel to withdraw the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the alleged National Register of Citizens".
Zargar had approached the Delhi High Court after a a trial court denied her bail on June 4. Today was the third day of hearing of Zargar's plea. This was the fourt bail plea by the research scholar and acitivist since she was arrested on April 10.
The Court clarified that the order should not be "treated as a precedent" in this case or any other case.