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Last Updated : Jul 07, 2020 06:47 PM IST | Source: PTI

Pinjra Tod activist started media trial to gain sympathy in Delhi violence case: Police to Delhi HC

The police filed an affidavit in response to a plea by JNU student Devangana Kalitha alleging that the probe agency was selectively leaking, to the media, certain information regarding allegations against her and the evidence allegedly collected against her.

PTI
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The Delhi Police on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that a woman member of Pinjra Tod group, arrested in relation to the anti-CAA protests and communal violence in the national capital, has herself started a ‘media trial' in her favour to gain sympathy and generate public opinion in her favour.

The police filed an affidavit in response to a plea by JNU student Devangana Kalitha alleging that the probe agency was selectively leaking, to the media, certain information regarding allegations against her and the evidence allegedly collected against her.

The high court had earlier issued notice on her plea to the Delhi Police seeking its response. It had also passed an interim order restraining it to share any information related to the case with a third party.

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Responding to the notice, Delhi Police alleged that “The petitioner (Kalitha) herself is guilty of peddling a false social media narrative of state sponsored oppression and subjugation against a particular community which incited the Delhi riots, and after the riots, she is guilty of peddling of a false narrative of a political vendetta, state sponsored pogrom, persecution and malicious prosecution against the said community.”

The agency explained the circumstances relating to issuance of a press note on June 2 about the case against Kalitha and said it was only an attempt on the part of police to put the things in the right perspective to prevent any flare of public sentiments and to bring out the true facts regarding the offences for which she was arrested.

“The said note was necessary in peculiar facts and circumstances which prevailed in the aftermath of the Delhi riots and was in discharge of the constitutional obligation of respondent (police) to satisfy the right of the citizen to know about the affairs of the society and the right of the journalist to ensure an informed society,” the police' affidavit, filed through advocates Amit Mahajan and Rajat Nair, said.

In pursuance to the direction of Justice Vibhu Bakhru, the affidavit filed by Dr G Ram Gopal Naik, Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police (Crime) said the press note was necessary in the circumstances which prevailed in the aftermath of the Delhi riots and was in discharge of the constitutional obligation of police to satisfy the right of the citizen to know about the affairs of the society and the right of the journalist to ensure an informed society.

“As such it does not lie with the petitioner to now invoke the equity jurisdiction of this court to gag information which she herself had been publishing on social media platforms to gain sympathy and generate public opinion and to dispel false notion fed by the petitioner and her affiliate groups in the minds of the general public,” it said.

Police said the false and misleading information detailed in the tweets in public domain had a direct adverse impact on the law and “it is extremely crucial to mention here that social media in the present day has become one of the most powerful tool for dissemination of information both true and false”.

It claimed that Kalitha and her group have a huge social media presence through which they have been vociferously trying to impede the ongoing investigation against them by trying to gain sympathy and by trying to swing public opinion in their favour.

“In this regard concerted and well-orchestrated efforts were continuously made by the members of Pinjra Tod Group and its associate and affiliate groups to gain sympathy and influence and swing public opinion in favour of the present petitioner as well as other activists of Pinjra Tod Group arrested by Delhi Police in connection with North East riots,” it contended.

The police said the issue of Kalitha's arrest also became a subject matter of wide publication amongst the news agencies and a lot of information was being circulated by her and its associated/ affiliated groups in the electronic media which lead to publication of large number of news articles having unverified, speculative and opinionated content.

The matter is scheduled to come up for hearing on July 9.

The high court on June 10 had restrained the police from issuing any statement or circulating information regarding allegations and any evidence collected against Kalitha.

It had directed that the information or allegations against Kalitha be not conveyed to any person, including media houses, or on social media platforms.

Pinjra Tod (break the cage) group is a collective of women students and alumni of colleges from across Delhi.

The woman has claimed that the leaked information was selective and misleading. Her lawyer had earlier contended in court that such information relating to allegations and alleged evidence is being given much publicity and was likely to prejudice the trial of persons accused in the FIRs including her.

Kalita, who was arrested on May 23, is lodged in Tihar Jail under judicial custody in a case associated with violence in old Delhi's Daryaganj area during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in December last year.

Three cases have been registered against her in relation to north east Delhi riots.

Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.
First Published on Jul 7, 2020 06:39 pm
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