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Homechevron_rightIndiachevron_rightPinjra Tod tried to...

Pinjra Tod tried to derail probe in free speech's garb, HC told


Image from a protest by Pinjra Tod activists _file


New Delhi: The Delhi Police has filed a status report in response to a petition filed by Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita, seeking the court's direction to the Delhi Police to not leak any allegations to the media pertaining to the petitioner, and the pending investigation during the trial.

In its response filed through special counsel for Delhi riots cases, Amit Mahajan and Rajat Nair, the police held it was Kalita who was "reverently trying to obfuscate and derail the investigation against her".

"It was the accused petitioner (Devangana), who in the garb of free speech, has been reverently trying to obfuscate and derail the investigation against her by misusing social media platforms and by peddling fake narratives and misinformation against the investigating agency and by maligning its investigation, as state sponsored malicious prosecution on such social media platforms," the response read.

The police further submitted that Kalita, in active connivance with the other accused, "weaved a web of actions animated by unlawful object of creating terror and disaffection".

"The accused-petitioner was not only disposed towards creating turmoil to severely undermine public order and imperil national security but also to erode and frustrate the civil compact which holds our polity together," the police said.

Kalita, who is currently in judicial custody in the Tihar Jail in a case relating to Delhi riots, had approached the high court seeking court's direction to the Delhi Police to not leak any information.

The police further claimed, in its response, that "the motive and the idea behind this conspiracy was 'to go to any extent possible', be it a small scuffle with the police during blockade or instigation of riots between two communities or to advocate and execute a secessionist movement in the country by propagating an armed rebellion against the lawfully constituted government of the day".

It alleged that behind this facade of civil unrest/protest, "there was a plot to perpetrate a sinister design of riots and/or instigate an armed rebellion throughout the country".

"The idea in the motive behind these blockade, during the time when the US President was visiting India, was to attract the attention of international media for propagating a narrative that the government of the day was anti-Muslim and by the use of the state machinery was executing a pogrom against the Muslims of the country," the document read further.

The police has alleged that Kalita was herself guilty of starting a media trial in her favour by using social media to gain sympathy and to discredit the probe.

"As soon as the petitioner was arrested, there was a concerted attempt made in the social media to present her as victim of state-sponsored oppression," the police said.

The affidavit, filed through the special counsel, argued that when Kalita and her affiliate groups themselves intensified and escalated the said narrative when she was arrested.

The police affidavit also claims that the series of tweets posted on official twitter handle of Pinjra Tod Group soon after Devangana's arrest reveals that the facts regarding her arrest for the offences such as attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy and riots etc. were already uploaded by her group members on social media platforms.

"The only difference was that the said publications were aimed at projecting the petitioner and her associates as victims of state subjugation so that she could gain sympathy in the eyes of the public and could influence and swing public opinion in favour," the response said.

"The issue of petitioner's arrest also became a subject matter of wide publication amongst the news agencies," the police added.

On June 11, the court had restrained the Delhi Police from circulating information. "The respondent is restrained from issuing any such statements or circulating information regarding allegations and evidence allegedly collected against the petitioner or other accused, to any person, including to the media or on social media platforms," Justice Vibhu Bakhru had ruled.

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News Summary - Pinjra Tod tried to derail probe in free speech's garb, HC told
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