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'Not meeting her father before his death will be a life-long regret for Natasha'

By SYED FIRDAUS ASHRAF
May 14, 2021 10:38 IST
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'She said she could have taken so much energy from her father had she got a chance to meet him before his death.'

IMAGE: Natasha Narwal performs her father's last rites, May 11, 2021. Photograph: CPIM Haryana/Facebook
 

After spending one year in jail, Pinjra Tod activist Natasha Narwal was released on interim bail by the Delhi high court for her father's funeral on May 10, 2021.

Natasha was arrested in May 2020 after she participated in anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests and was booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Her father Mahavir Narwal died in a Rohtak hospital on May 9 after battling COVID-19 for a week.

Jagmati Sangwan, Natasha's family friend, who can be seen to her right, recalls the activist's ordeal in a conversation with Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com.


Natasha was very upset when she came to know her father is suffering from Covid.

And her suffering worsened after her younger brother too contacted Covid.

She applied for bail on Friday May 7) so that she could come and meet her father who was in a critical stage.

Unfortunately, the judge postponed the hearing to Monday (May 10). Her lawyer intervened to say that Natasha's father was critical and also mentioned that Natasha had only her father as a parent as her mother had passed away 20 years ago.

Her lawyer further requested that Natasha was the only person in the family who could tend to her brother and father as they had no one to look after them, but the judge said he would not see her bail application on Friday.

On Sunday (May 9), her father passed away.

Her bail application was moved on Monday, but Natasha had lost her heart by the news of her father's death.

She wished she could have got bail on Friday and if that had happened she could have seen her father alive.

She said she could have taken so much energy from her father had she got a chance to meet him before his death.

Not meeting her father before his death will be a life-long regret of Natasha.

Sadly, even when she got the bail on Monday, it was delayed intentionally.

The jail authorities told us that she would be released by 3 pm which was then postponed to 6 pm and finally she was released at 9 pm on Monday.

She then reached Rohtak, Haryana, late at night.

The cremation was done the next day.

Her brother could not come for the funeral because he is suffering from Covid.

Natasha conducted the last rites and she did it so gracefully in spite of going through such huge mental trauma.

Natasha is mentally, emotionally and physically drenched.

At an emotional level this news was very heart-breaking for her, but Natasha is not a common civilian like us who will break down despite going through so much.

She knows that the current regime's job is not to give happiness to people but snatch away happiness from them. We too can face trouble in future.

The saddest thing to happen to her was that she could not hug her father for one last time due to Covid protocol.

She is very disturbed, unhappy and angry, but then somehow she controls her emotions and brings herself back to stability.

Right now her concern is about her younger brother.

In my opinion, the government has been very harsh on Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita.

They were soft targets for the police. They wanted to teach a lesson to other girl students that what the police can do to them if they raise their voice against the establishment.

These girls got bail from the court and immediately after they were booked under the UAPA.

Pinjra Tod is a very small group and they wanted to harass these girls to such a level that no other girls join them.

In jail Natasha tried to get vaccination done for most of the inmates.

She feels it is not right to keep so many people in one cell in Covid times. And if one woman inmate gets infected, all of them would get it.

She also raised human rights issues in jail which was taken note across the country and the jail staffer told Natasha she should be in Parliament.

According to them, the jail is too small place for someone of her stature.

Natasha's father had told her to do yoga in jail. She did that and made other inmates too practise yoga.

Natasha is hopeful and positive about the outcome of her case as now the hearing is over.

It is only the judgment that needs to be given. We are hopeful that on facts she will win the case.

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SYED FIRDAUS ASHRAF / Rediff.com
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