Delhi riots case: Cops say Kalita ‘peddled false narrative online’
The plea also said that such coverage, which is directly attributable to leaks of the Delhi Police, has caused Kalita to fear for her own safety, as also the safety of her relatives in Assam and her husband in Delhi.Updated: Jul 08, 2020 00:51 IST
The Delhi police has informed the Delhi high court that Devangana Kalita, member of Pinjra Tod and an accused in the north-east Delhi riots, has “peddled a false social media narrative of state-sponsored oppression and subjugation against a particular community which incited the Delhi riots”.
The police said that their press notes, given to the media on the charge sheets filed in the Delhi riots, “were only an attempt on their part to put 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.
Kalita had moved the court through advocate Adit S Pujari, stating that media note, and selective leaks to the media on contents of charge-sheets in the Delhi riots cases, have caused immense damage to her reputation and fundamental right to a fair trial and a presumption of innocence.
The plea also said that such coverage, which is directly attributable to leaks of the Delhi Police, has caused Kalita to fear for her own safety, as also the safety of her relatives in Assam and her husband in Delhi. The Delhi high court on June 12 had restrained the city police from giving out any press notes to the media.
In an affidavit filed through advocates Amit Mahajan and Rajat Nair, the city police has said that media notes were necessary for peculiar facts and circumstances, which prevailed in the aftermath of the Delhi riots. It said that it is 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 Delhi police said that Kalita and her group herself started a ‘media trial’ in her favour to gain public sympathy and to influence and generate public opinion in her favour. It said that Kalita had herself peddled a false narrative of a political vendetta, state-sponsored pogrom, persecution and malicious prosecution against a particular community after the riots. The matter would be heard on July 9.
It said that “social media in the present day has become one of the most powerful tools for dissemination of information; both true and false”. It said that Kalita 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 swing public opinion in their favour.
“……the members of Pinjra Tod group through their social media account have been fervently and incessantly trying to present Kalita and other accused persons as victims of malicious prosecution by spreading misleading and false information about the action taken by the Investigating Agency against them,” the police said.
They said that the note was shared as a precautionary measure to keep the public informed about the true and correct facts of the investigation.
Kalita was arrested by the Special Cell and charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for her alleged role in the conspiracy to the north-east Delhi riots, which left more than 50 dead and several others injured. She has been named in four separate FIRs by the city police, its Special Cell and its Crime Branch who are probing the riots.
On June 3, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the crime branch filed a charge sheet in a city court charging Pinjra Tod members—Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita—for being “actively involved” in hatching the conspiracy to cause riots near Jaffarabad metro station on February 25. The police said that they were also part of a larger conspiracy and were found to be connected to the “India against Hate” group and its member Umar Khalid, a former union leader from the Jawaharlal Nehru University.