The Dossier

Tihar Jail’s Case Of Years of Violence and Political Abuse

Pinjara tod

On June 24, 2020, Natasha Narwal, a member of Pinjra Tod who was arrested on the basis of anti-CAA protests, voiced out the gruesome violence cases that went on within the walls of Tihar Jail. These allegations of “large-scale violence” were made before the Delhi High Court. A parallel was also drawn along the Safoora Zargar pregnancy case that was denied bail by the Delhi Police.

Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, all the meetings with lawyers, and appointments with friends and families were suspended since March. However, the claim made by Narwal stated how the inmates were not even allowed to get in touch with their family members through a video call.

This information was revealed in a hearing related to the plea forwarded by Narwal, that sought access to her lawyer through video calls and to books and reading material. Presented before Justice C Hari Shankar, the counsel contended that a complete lockdown was initiated in the Tihar Jail and accused that large scale violence was inflicted upon the inmates in the past week.

Evidence was provided backing up the fact that the prisoners were prohibited from speaking to their family members for the reason that the violence which they were saddled with had resulted in severe injuries. This argument slashed the one alleged by Narwal in her hearing at the Delhi High Court.

Also read: Delhi Police Arrests Two Pinjra Tod Activists Again

In retaliation, Rahul Mehra, Delhi government’s standing counsel at the criminal court, rebuffed the allegations pertaining to the former claim. He also stated that he was informed otherwise by the authorities in Tihar Jail and that the inability to contact family members through video calls or conferencing was due to poor connectivity and technical issues. 

According to a report by The Indian Express, Delhi High Court has asked Mehra to “file his status report on the plea by Narwal requesting access to her lawyer, and listed the matter for further hearing on June 29.” Mehra has also been asked to “look into the woman’s grievance that the daily five-minute call to family members was not being made available to her,” the report stated. 

Another important instance that has recently gained a lot of discussions is that of Safoora Zargar, who requested bail on the grounds that she was pregnant. In the past ten years, about 40 deliveries have been carried out in the Tihar Jail, and somehow instead of bringing about a change in the system, Delhi police have denied her request on the very fact. 

Arrested on April 10, 2020, Zargar was held accountable in the communal violence cases in northeast Delhi in February, pertaining to the widespread protests going on against the Citizenship Amendment Act. 

According to a report by News 18 “charges under anti-terror law, UAPA, have been invoked against the Jamia Millia Islamia M.Phil student who is more than four months pregnant.” The status report, which was turned in by the Delhi Police over to the Delhi High Court, ruled out the approval of bail claiming that her pregnancy “does not dilute the gravity of her alleged crime and that she is being given adequate medical care in the jail.”

This report explicitly stated, “There is no exception carved out for pregnant inmate, who is accused of such heinous crime, to be released on bail merely because of pregnancy. To the contrary, the law provides for adequate safeguards and medical attention during their custody in jail.”

Also read: Delhi Police Chases Jamia Students Amid Lockdown

Since the deliveries had been carried out as per the guidelines laid out by the Supreme Court, the Police department backed it up by saying that there had been “enough precedents to show not only arrest and detention of pregnant women but also their deliveries in jails.” 

This report gave an account of all of these 39 deliveries carried out in Tihar Jail in the past ten years and further stated that Zargar was therefore not entitled to any “preferential treatment”, despite the fact that the law itself sanctions certain kinds of requests based on specific classes of offenders.

In a report provided by Special Cell DCP PS Kushwaha, it was stated that “the very fact of rearing of life ought to have been a check on activities (by Zargar) which had a potential to cause, and which did in fact cause large-scale destruction of life and properties.” To this, Delhi Police said that Zargar was held in a cell that was secluded from the rest, and was provided with a good diet, required medicines, and other facilities. The doctors’ appointments were also scheduled in as per her requirement and the guidelines provided by the Supreme Court.

In further defence of their rejection of Zargar’s request for bail, the report even informed, “In fact, more care and caution are being practised in jail so far as social distancing norms are concerned that would be available to her outside the jail premises.” 

As far as the FIR is concerned, the Police department clarified the presence of enough evidence, further emphasising on Zargar’s complicity in a “sinister design” which resulted in widespread chaos and unrest, and the flaring up communal tension. It was claimed that all was done with uprooting of democratically elected government as the ultimate goal, and involving “violent and illegal means.”

Ultimately, Zargar’s bail plea was dismissed by a trial court on June 4, 2020, leaving her with no choice but to appeal for it again in the High Court. оформить займ на вебманипервый займ бесплатно на киви кошелеквзять долгосрочный займ онлайн займ на катувзять займ 30000займ 500 рублей срочно

Tanvi Kulkarni

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