The 'Pinjra Tod' group, a collective of women students and alumni of colleges from across Delhi, on Sunday condemned the "usage of draconian laws" against its members after two were arrested in connection with violence during anti-CAA protests here in December.
While 'Pinjra Tod' activist and JNU student Natasha Narwal has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) under the same FIR as filed against Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider, Umar Khalid and others, its other member Devangana Kalita booked in connection with violence during the protests in old Delhi's Daryaganj area.
This is the third case under which Kalita has been arrested by the police, of which two are related to northeast Delhi riots.
Condemning Kalita's arrest, the group said, "She has now been taken into police custody at the Daryaganj police station. This reveals the completely misinformed nature of the charges being made against the protesters."
The Daryaganj protest was among the first massive protests against the CAA in Delhi, where 'Pinjra Tod' members, among thousands of others joining the call, were caught in a "brutal lathicharge by Delhi police", the members alleged.
"They released an immediate witness account of the situation documenting the peaceful nature of the protest and the unprovoked brutal lathicharge on the same by the police and even got MLCs registered for the same. Apart from herself suffering injuries in the police lathi charge, it is important to note that the 16 other people accused in the Daryaganj FIR have all got bail," they said.
The police have shown a "total inability to produce evidence of involvement in violence".
"The use of draconian laws such as the UAPA, and their invocation against democratic activists is a clear abuse of the powers vested in the state," the activists said.
"We condemn the strategy being used by the police of invoking new and unsubstantiated charges on Devangana and Natasha as per the convenience of their narrative and without any basis," they said.