The Delhi Police has arrested two members of Pinjra Tod, a women’s student organisation, on Saturday in connection with their alleged role in the anti- CAA Jafrabad sit-in protest in February 2020.
DCP (Northeast) Ved Prakash Surya confirmed the arrests.
The two activists, Devangana Kalita (30) and Natasha Narwal (32) are students of JNU and were arrested from their homes, a Pinjra Tod member said.
Kalita is an MPhil student at the Centre for Women’s Studies, Narwal is a PhD student at the Centre for Historical Studies. They are both founding members of Pinjra Tod.
In a statement, Pinjra Tod said the women were arrested around 6 pm.
Pinjra tod was formed in 2015 confronting the repressive policies of college and hostel authorities, fights against moral policing of women, and seeks to ensure safe and affordable housing for female students across Delhi.
The organisation also participated in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
“They were arrested from their homes in an FIR registered by Jafrabad police station, after interrogation by the Special Cell… Police did not give reasons to their families for their arrest.” the organisation claimed.
“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 and strong in our struggles in the face of this repression,” it added.
A case has been filed against them under IPC (Indian Penal Code) sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty).
Earlier the police had arrested Safoora Zargar, a student of Jamia Millia Islamia charged under stringent anti-terror law UAPA linked to the communal violence in Delhi. Human rights organisations like Amnesty International criticised the arrest calling it “ruthless” while the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) tweeted, “At this time, #India should be releasing prisoners of conscience, not targeting those practicing their democratic right to protest.”
In the midst of the global pandemic and lockdown, the police continues to witch hunt the student activists who organised the anti- CAA protests while Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, and several others roam free even after making inflammatory remarks.