Activist Natasha Narwal got interim bail from the Delhi High Court on Monday morning to perform the last rites of her father, Mahavir Narwall – a senior member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
He died Sunday after contracting the novel coronavirus.
Ms Narwal was arrested last year for alleged conspiracy linked to the Delhi riots that raged through the national capital in February 2020. A case was filed against her under the stringent anti-terror law – the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. She is associated with a Delhi-based group called “Pinjra Tod” that fights for women’s rights.
Natasha Narwal’s brother, Aakash, is also in isolation after he tested positive for coronavirus. “Therefore, there is nobody else in the family to perform the last rites and cremation,” the court observed.
“In the interest of justice, we are of the view that the release of applicant is imperative in this hour of grief and personal loss,” the court further said.
She has been granted bail for three weeks and Delhi Police did not oppose her plea.
She has been asked by the court to “furnish a personal bond of Rs 50,000” and to refrain from speaking about the case. “She should surrender herself upon the completion of three weeks interim bail period with an RT-PCR Covid test result,” the court has said.
Mahavir Narwal could not speak to his daughter before his death, news agency PTI reported, citing sources close to the family.
Condolences poured in on social media as leaders paid last respects to Mr Narwal, a scientist.
“Unbelievably tragic, @harsh_mander. It is so sad to see our Indian democracy reduced to this state. Bail, not jail, used to be the mantra in such cases. What is happening to our human values that a daughter imprisoned for a political protest isn’t allowed to meet her dying father?” the Congress’s Shashi Tharoor tweeted.
“Extend my deep condolences to Natasha and her brother Aakash. The terrible injustice of the system in which a daughter wrongly locked up for a year unable to see her father even for a final farewell,” CPI-M’s Brinda Karat said.
With deep regret and sorrow sharing the death of Com. Mahavir Narwal, head of Haryana Vigyan Manch due to Covid complications. He always stood by his daughter Natasha, falsely put under UAPA by the Modi-Shah duo, & has been incarcerating in Tihar ever since. Com. Mahavir Lalsalam pic.twitter.com/YEcMN9vewQ
— CPIM DELHI (@CPIMSTATEDELHI) May 9, 2021
Unbelievably tragic, @harsh_mander. It is so sad to see our Indian democracy reduced to this state. Bail,not jail, used to be the mantra in such cases. What is happening to our human values that a daughter imprisoned for a political protest isn’t allowed to meet her dying father? https://t.co/rNdEDWGLdQ
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) May 9, 2021
The CPI-M hit out at the central government over Ms Narwal’s arrest in its condolence message.
Amid unprecedented surge in Covid cases across the country, many activists have called for release of political prisoners.
This morning, India recorded 3.66 lakh cases in yet another huge spike.