Student activist Gulfisha Fatima.
(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

A Delhi court on Wednesday, 16 March, rejected the bail pleas of Gulfisha Fatima and Tasleem Ahmed in connection with a case alleging conspiracy behind the Delhi riots of 2020, involving charges under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat pronounced the order after hearing Advocate Mehmood Pracha appearing for both the applicants, while Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad appeared for the State.

While Fatima was arrested on 11 April 2020, Ahmed was arrested on 24 June in the same year.

Fatima is an Urdu master’s student of Delhi University, an MBA graduate and a radio jockey. She was slapped with four cases, but has been granted bail in all except FIR 59.

Fatima was arrested on the basis of an FIR on the Jaffrabad sit-in protest on 9 April 2020 and slapped with the anti-terror law UAPA on 18 April 2020, along with Jamia students Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar.

The prosecution has argued that while the riots were meticulously planned, there was destruction of properties, disruption of essential services, use of petrol bombs, lathis, stones, etc, and therefore meeting the criteria which is required under 15(1)(a)(i),(ii) and (iii) of the UAPA, LiveLaw reported.

The prosecution has also alleged that the 2020 sit-in protests were carefully planned, picking strategic protest sites closer to 25 mosques.

Prasad submitted that the sites were places with religious significance but were given secular names so as to give legitimacy to the allegedly communal protests.

The FIR 59 UAPA Conspiracy Case

This comes just days after former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan was granted bail, in connection with the Delhi Riots Larger Conspiracy Case, registered under FIR 59 of 2020.

Eighteen people have been named accused in this case, but prior to Jahan, only five others had received bail. Jahan is also the first accused in this case to have been granted bail by a sessions court.

The other five – Faizan Khan, Safoora Zargar, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Natasha Narwal, and Devangana Kalita – had to go up to the Delhi High Court before they were granted any relief.

Meanwhile, orders in the bail pleas moved by co-accused Umar Khalid has been deferred to 21 March, and by Saleem Malik and Sharjeel Imam to 22 March.

Delhi Riots: Bail Denied to Gulfisha Fatima & Tasleem Ahmed Charged Under UAPA

Jahan, along with co-accused Gulfisha Fatima and Khalid Saifi, have allegedly suffered custodial violence, according to World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).

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