Noted scientist and a senior member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Mahavir Narwal, whose daughter Pinjra Tod activist Natasha Narwal remains in jail, died of the novel coronavirus infection on Sunday, family sources said.
Natasha was arrested in May last year for allegedly being part of a premeditated conspiracy in the northeast Delhi riots in February that year. She has been named under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The activist has been lodged in Tihar Jail in Delhi.
"Mahavir Narwal was not able to speak to his daughter who is in jail. His son, Aakash, who is also COVID-19 positive, was there with him in Rohtak," sources close to the family said.
His death drew messages of condolence on Twitter.
CPIM expresses deep condolences on the demise of Comrade Mahavir Narwal, a senior member of CPIM.— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) May 9, 2021
It is criminal act of the Modi govt that his daughter Natasha Narwal was arrested under UAPA last year and couldn't even meet her father.
Lal Salaam Mahavir Narwal! pic.twitter.com/B6An9V5y9L
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
Left activists and civil society groups had recently demanded that "political prisoners" be released from jails because of the surge in coronavirus cases.
"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 politburo member Brinda Karat said.
Women's rights activist and CPIML politburo member Kavita Krishnan also lashed out at the government.
"This is so bloody cruel & sadistic: it's a form of torture to keep political prisoners jailed during a pandemic, forced to suffer not only prison, but the pain of being away from loved ones who are dying. Natasha's brother also has Covid-19," she said on Twitter.
Activist Harsh Mander too condoled Mahavir Narwal's death.
"Where there's suffering, my daughter will be there. I'm proud of her". This hero, Mahavir Narwal, father of Natasha in jail for the CAA protests, supports her, with courage hard to find. 'I hope she' not in jail so long she doesn't see my face". He died just hours ago of Covid (sic)," he tweeted.