Upon their release from Tihar Prison on June 17 evening, Jawaharlal Nehru University students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, and Jamia Millia Islamia University student Asif Iqbal Tanha, said that the fight was not over.
Outside the prison after their release, Mr. Tanha said that the fight against injustice and against CAA-NRC ( Citizenship Amendment Act , National Register of Citizens ) would continue. “The constitution gives rights to everyone and because of that, I had faith that we’ll be released. I would just want to say that our fight against CAA-NRC will continue and the fight for justice for the likes of Najeeb, Ikhlaq and Alimuddin will also continue. I am not scared of anyone but God,” he said, adding that he was beaten in jail and faced hardships but accepted it all because of “the love I have been showered with and it’s with that feeling I’ll continue”.
Surrounded by her friends and family, Ms. Kalita made a statement which received applause from the crowd. “Whenever women come together stand against something… protest, society criticises them… they are vilified and called names — terrorists, obscene and what not,” she said, adding that she was grateful to the High Court for saying “what we believe in”, that “any peaceful protest or dissent is not terrorism”.
“So many people like us are languishing in jails for protesting against this government, which is the basis of democracy,” she said.
Ms. Narwal, who lost her father to COVID-19 last month, said the loss was irreparable and she was still coming to terms with it. “We have survived staying without family and friends but I would like to say that because our case was highlighted and we had support from all quarters, the time was spent fine and we didn’t have to face a lot of harassment,” she said.
She also said that when she told people about the the charges against them in jail, prisoners would laugh at them, unable to believe the allegations of terrorism levelled against them.