Cops question Sharjeel, probe links with groups; say he admitted videos not tampered with
A team of Delhi Police’s crime branch, which questioned Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) scholar Sharjeel Imam, said he admitted that the videos of his speech were not tampered with.
Police officers said they were looking if Imam had any connection with the Islamic Youth Federation and Popular Front of India. His phone was confiscated to find if he was in touch with members of these groups, police said.
Imam, who was arrested for sedition on Tuesday afternoon from his village in Bihar’s Jehanabad by a team of Delhi and Bihar police, was on Wednesday remanded in police custody for five days by a Delhi court.
He was wanted by police in Delhi, among five other states, on sedition charge for his allegedly inflammatory and instigating speech during an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest outside Jamia Millia Islamia on December 13, 2019—two days before a violent clash broke out between police and protesters.
An officer privy to Imam’s questioning said he has so far not denied giving the allegedly inflammatory speech after which he was booked for sedition and for promoting or attempting to promote disharmony or feelings of enmity.
“He has not alleged any tampering with his speech videos. All his videos have been sent to forensic science laboratories and his social media accounts are also being examined. His connections with some other groups are being verified. We are lso probing whether his words in the speech are his own views or he was speaking on behalf of some organisation,” said the officer who did not wish to be named.
After his arrest in Bihar, Imam was brought to Delhi on Wednesday afternoon and was produced by police at the residence of chief metropolitan magistrate Purushottam Pathak in the evening amid high security.
A video that shows him allegedly talking about blocking the chicken’s neck in West Bengal to isolate the northeastern states from the rest of India for a month has been widely circulated on social media. Hindustan Times could not independently verify the authenticity of the video.
His mother, Agsan Rahim, said Imam’s speech was misconstrued and taken out of context and that her son was innocent.