Two members belonging to Pinjra Tod, a women rights group, were arrested on Saturday for their involvement in the north-east Delhi riots early this year, police said.
The group was involved in organising women protesters at the Jaffrabad metro station where the riots took place. The police said they have arrested two members -- Natasha and Devenagana -- for their involvement in the riots.
According to a report in The Indian Express, they were arrested under IPC Sections 186 (obstruction public servant in discharge of public functions) and IPC Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty).
The two activists arrested are Devanga Kalita (30) and Natasha Narwal (32), both JNU students, according to the Indian Express report.
The same report states that the women were arrested around 6 PM. Pinjra Tod ostensibly said: “Many students and activists have been arrested by Delhi Police in the last few months. We strongly condemn the witch hunt of democratic activists and students being carried out by the state and appeal to the student community and democratic-minded citizens to remain vigilant … in our struggles in face of this repression,” it added.
It said on Facebook:
"UPDATE ON THE ARREST OF TWO STUDENT ACTIVISTS FROM PINJRATOD
Two activists from Pinjratod, Devangana and Natasha have been arrested by the Delhi Police today around 6 pm this evening.
They were arrested from their homes in an FIR registered by the Jafrabad police station, after an interrogation by the Special Cell shortly before officials from PS Jafrabad arrested them. They are currently at Jaffrabad Police Station. The police did not give reasons to their family members for their arrest.
Many students and activists have been arrested by the Delhi Police in the last couple of months. We strongly condemn this hounding of democratic activists and students being carried out by the state and appeal to the student community and all democratic minded citizens to remain vigilant and strong in our struggles in face of this repression.
During the probe, the Delhi Police claimed that the women's rights group mobilised locals in north-east Delhi. It was found that on February 22 evening Pinjra Tod members had mobilized local residents for protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and directed them to gather at Jaffrabad metro station.
"Anti-CAA protesters gathered at the metro station on February 22 night at 10 p.m.
We thought they would gather at the old site at Seelampur service lane, which is around a kilometre away," sources told IANS.
A new set of protesters then came out and took shelter under the metro station. There were 500 women, children aged 5-6 years and 400 men. They came out of congested bylanes and gathered at the metro station. The core group consisted of outsiders.The police personnel deployed to remove them were outnumbered.
"We had limited women personnel. Besides, there were orders from the High Court and Supreme Court over the right to protest. However, we did not allow tents at the site," said a police source.
By February 23 morning, the crowd swelled to around 2,000. "We had limited staff. Pinjra Tod members were mobilising the crowd and locals supported them," said another source.
Explaining the situation, sources said Delhi's North-East district is very congested. The area around Jaffrabad and Maujpur has a population of 80,000 people per sq km. Seeing the crowd swell at Jafrabad metro station, a kilometre away at Maujpur metro station, another community members also gathered and started a sit-in, saying would soon jam the entire stretch of Maujpur.
It was here that BJP leader Kapil Mishra came and addressed the crowd and then left. The situation worsened and more people started gathering at both the places, leading to rioting. The police are also investigating the role of other members of Pinjra Tod.
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FPJ – know your IPCs
What is Section 186?
186. Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions.—Whoever voluntarily obstructs any public servant in the discharge of his public functions, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.
What is Section 353?
353. Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty.—Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person being a public servant in the execution of his duty as such public servant, or with intent to prevent or deter that person from discharging his duty as such public servant, or in consequence of anything done or attempted to be done by such person in the lawful discharge of his duty as such public servant, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.