Delhi riots accused Devangana Kalita on Thursday approached the high court here seeking direction to the police to provide her certain videos and WhatsApp chats in two cases, including one under anti-terror law UAPA, related to the communal violence during the 2020 protests against the CAA and NRC.
The Delhi High Court issued notice on the petitions by the student activist and asked the investigating agency to file its response, but refused to stay the trial court proceedings in the meantime.
Kalita pleaded that she needed the videos and chats to prove her innocence, but the Delhi Police counsel contended that her petitions were not maintainable. He said further investigation was still underway in the cases and material being sought by the petitioner was not part of the charge sheet.
Justice Amit Bansal listed the case for further hearing on January 17 and said, “There is no question of stay till I hear both sides”.
Kalita’s counsel submitted that the Delhi Police had commissioned certain persons to record the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens in February 2020 and the footage should be supplied to her before the trial court proceeds to hear the arguments on the framing of charges.
“Those videos will demonstrate that from February 22 to 26 (of 2020), we were protesting peacefully. The videos will demonstrate that.. I want to exercise my valuable right of discharge (in the criminal cases),” he said.
“The case against me (in one of the FIRs in the present matter) is murder. I am said to be part of a group of protestors under the Jafrabad flyover. Selective screengrabs have been taken… The videos exist. I say it is exculpatory. Provide me the videos,” Kalita’s lawyer contended.
Besides the video footage, the lawyer also sought the “entire WhatsApp chat” of a group, “selective extracts” of which were allegedly being used against the petitioner.
Student activists Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal, Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar, former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain and several others have also been booked under various FIRs in relation to the riots in the North-East Delhi, which left 53 people dead and over 700 injured in February 2020.
Kalita, Sharjeel Imam, Khalid Saifi, Umar Khalid and others have been accused of being the “masterminds” behind the violence that took place at a time when the then US president Donald Trump and other dignitaries were in the national capital.