Sharjeel Imam, a PhD student at the JNU’s Centre for Historical Studies, was arrested on Tuesday by Delhi Police’s Crime Branch from Bihar’s Jehanabad in a sedition case for allegedly making inflammatory speeches in Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh. Anti-CAA activist Sharjeel Imam, who was on the run after sedition charges were slapped against him for allegedly making inflammatory statements, was arrested from Bihar’s Jehanabad district on January 28, 2020.
A graduate in computer science from IIT-Mumbai, Imam had shifted to Delhi for pursuing research at the Centre for Historical Studies at the JNU. The Delhi police claimed that he made divisive speeches on two occasions, once at the Jamia Millia Islamia University at the height of the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in December, the other at the Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh, another epicentre of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA. He was slapped with a sedition case after a video of his purported speech went viral on social media where he was heard speaking about “cutting off” Assam and the northeast from the rest of India. His statements relating to the sediuous statements include, “Cutting off Assam (from India) is our responsibility, only then they (the government) will listen to us. We know the condition of Muslims in Assam….they are being put into detention camps”. Visible from the video, he was seen saying that, “If five lakh people are organised, we can cut off the northeast and India permanently. If not, at least for a month or half a month. Throw as much ‘mawad’ (variously described as pus or rubbish) on rail tracks and roads that it takes the Air Force one month to clear it.” The Citizenship Amendment Act makes religion, for the first time, the test of Indian citizenship. The government says it will help non-Muslim refugees from three Muslim-dominated neighbouring countries if they fled to India because of religious persecution. Critics say that the bill discriminates against Muslims and violates secular tenets of the Constitution.
- Reacting to the arrest of the Imam, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said people have the right to protest but nobody can talk about the country’s disintegration.
- Imam, who has been booked for sedition under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), came under the scanner of police authorities following the delivery of several inflammatory speeches during the ongoing protests at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh and the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
- Aligarh SSP Akash Kulhari said that Sharjeel Imam will be brought to Aligarh for remand.
- Sharjeel Imam has claimed that he surrendered before the police. Imam wrote on Twitter, “I have surrendered to the Delhi Police on 28 1 2020 at 3 PM. I am ready and willing to operate with the investigation. I have full faith in due process of law. My safety and security are now in the hand of the Delhi Police. Let peace prevail.”
- The protesters at Shaheen Bagh distanced themselves from his comments, saying that “no single person” can be called the organiser. His mother said he was in favour of “calling off” the agitation.
- Notice under § 160 CrPC was issued for Sharjeel Imaam on 27.01.2020 by the Crime Branch, Delhi Police.
- Delhi Police denies Sharjeel’s surrender claim. As per Delhi Police officers, there is no procedure to surrender before the police. If an accused wants to surrender, they have to appear before the court and not the police.
- The Delhi Police told media that they had been conducting raids for the past two days and on Monday afternoon; Imam was detained from his village. They added that Imam is being taken for transit remand and will be brought to Delhi after that.
- JNUSU condemns Sharjeel Imam’s arrest
- Delhi Police granted transit remand for Sharjeel Imam.
- Sharjeel Imam’s medical report deems him “medically fit”.
- JNU student union in its statement stated that, “The arrest of JNU student Sharjeel Imam under draconian charges of sedition shows that Islamophobia, selective amnesia & bias matter more than anything for a state apparatus under control of RSS-BJP. BJP and RSS want to criminalise Muslims on an unprecedented scale.”
- Sharjeel Imam was wanted by the police of several states, including Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Delhi. The doctoral student at JNU’s Centre for historical studies also has several other cases of sedition filed against him for his speeches across Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Delhi during the course of the protests against CAA, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR).
Edited by J. Madonna Jephi
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje