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Not the only pregnant accused, not entitled to preferential treatment: Delhi Police urges Delhi HC to dismiss Safoora Zargar’s bail plea

Safoora Zargar, who is 23 weeks pregnant, was arrested by the Delhi Police on the allegations that she delivered inflammatory speeches which led to violence and rioting in North East Delhi earlier this year.

Meera Emmanuel

The Delhi Police have filed a response before the Delhi High Court asserting that pregnancy cannot be a factor to release Safoora Zargar on bail, while also asserting that there is "strong, cogent, reliable and sufficient material available proving the direct involvement" of Zargar in conspiring to destabilize the ruling Government (Safoora Zargar vs State).

However, given that the investigation is at a crucial juncture, the police have said that they cannot disclose all particular materials of the investigation to the accused.

Safoora Zargar, who is 23 weeks pregnant, was arrested by the Delhi Police on the allegations that she delivered inflammatory speeches which led to violence and rioting in North East Delhi earlier this year.

Following the Court's direction last week, the Delhi police has filed a response to a bail plea moved by Zargar before the Delhi High Court.

Inter alia, the status report filed by PS Kushawa, Deputy Commissioner of Police contends that Zargar is not entitled to bail on the ground of pregnancy, given that the law does not make any distinction in this regard. Further, the response states,

"The severity of offence is in no manner mitigate by the fact of pregnancy, the Applicant/ Accused is not the only pregnant accused to be entitled to any preferential treatment and there are enough precedent available in law not only of the arrest of pregnant accused and their detention but even of delivery in prison for which detailed guidelines… are statutorily enacted."

It is not the case that requisite medical attention has been denied to Zargar either, the police have submitted. In this regard, the response also details medical check ups carried out for Zarfoora and a pregnancy-special diet prescribed for her.

Moreover, the police have also stated that Zargar has been "lodged in separate cell, all alone" and, therefore, her chances contracting COVID-19 do not arise.

Details regarding sanitisation measures and facilities undertaken at the prison have also been provided. Objection has also been raised with respect to a contention that Zargar has a cyst in her ovary, which the police contend was not disclosed to the doctors earlier but rather that it was raised for the first time in Court.

Goal was to execute a secessionist movement by propagating an armed rebellion against lawfully constituted government

The police have referred to incriminating WhatsApp chats and statements by witnesses to state that there is sufficient circumstantial evidence to implicate Zargar and which demonstrates that protestations of innocence in the case are phoney.

The response adds that "direct evidence is not always available of a conspirational design and mere absence of a contemporaneous record (which can only be available in a surveillance state) does not suggest the absence of a case against the accused."

The police go on to content that the principle of bail not jail will not apply, for want of contrary proof to the case against Zargar and given that the police were also granted an extension in time to investigate the offence.

Witness statements and statements by co-accused clearly implicates Zargar as the leading co-conspirator in the commission of the serious offences of causing large-scale disruptions and riots in Delhi and other parts of the country, the police have contended.

There is strong, cogent, reliable and sufficient material available proving the direct involvement of the accused, the status reports states. However, full details regarding the same have not been divulged. The Police have undertaken to produce the alleged incriminating material in a sealed cover before the Court if the same is sought for.

751 FIRs have been registered and 14 people arrested so far, of which Zargar was the ninth to be arrested, the police have informed.

The broad accusations made by the police against Safoora Zargar with respect to the Delhi Riots of 2020 include the following:

  • The conspiracy was hatched after the passage of Citizenship (Amendment) Act, whereby it was decided to flare up the sentiments of the Muslim community by propagating that the law was anti-muslim.

  • The sinister and nefarious conspiracy was designed in various levels. A facade of civil disobedience was maintained to buckle the government to agree to the illegitimate demands of the accused. There was a plot to perpetrate this sinister design of riots or armed rebellion throughout the country.

  • The motive and idea being the 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 seccesionist movement in the country by propagating an armed rebellion against the lawfully constituted government of the day."

  • Zargar is accused of having been complicit in setting up secret offices in protest sites, where mobilisation of people, preparation of strategy, schemes, stock of materials, slogan, speeches were carried out in a confidential and secret manner

  • Funds were used and supplied to organise the protest sites and fake vouchers were manufactured/ forged.

  • Acid bombs, iron roads, swords, nailed sticks, knives, sling shots, stones were used in the Delhi riots which were pre-planed in a systematic and organiser manner.

  • Protests were organised following the “Saheen Bagh Chakka-Jaam” model.

  • 21 protest sites were organised, and protest sites were converted to Chakka Jaam resulting in tensions being heightened and riots in North East, Shahadara and South Districts of Delhi.

  • It was decided that the "anti-government feeling of Muslims" will be used at an appropriate time to destablise the Government.

  • The protests were carried out during the visit of US President Donald Trmp to India "to attract international media attention to propogate a narrative that the Government of the day was anti-muslim."

  • The accused was a key link of this “conspiracy” since the beginning. She also created a WhatsApp group for the Jamia Coordination Committee to carry out the conspiracy. She was acting with other co-accused members of the JCC - Amanulla, Shifa ur Rehman, Meeran Haider, Asif Iqbal Tanha and other suspects.

  • Various provocative speeches rendered during the course of the CAA protests and visits to protest cites are stated to been to incite the feelings of other castes and communities.

  • Chakka Jaams were carried out by her with the “sole intention and objective of escalation them into riots as borne out from the statements of witnesses.”

With these, allied submissions, the Delhi Police have claimed that “not even an iota of doubt remains that Zargar was complicit in a deep-rooted and sinister conspiracy.

Therefore, the Police have urged the Court to dismiss Zargar's bail plea.

Zargar was arrested soon after she was granted bail in another FIR registered at Jafarabad Police Station in connection with the riots.

Her bail plea was rejected by the Sessions Court earlier this month after it opined that there was prima facie evidence to show that there was a conspiracy to at least blockade the roads. Subsequently, Zargar moved the Delhi High Court for relief.

The High Court today adjourned the matter till June 23 after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi sought an adjournment on the ground that they wanted to seek instructions on the matter, which may help summarily decide the issue.

Read the Status Report filed by the Delhi Police:

Status Report in Bail Appl. No.1318 of 2020 In The Matter of Safoora Zargar.pdf
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