Sharjeel resisted search by convicts, jailors at Tihar last month: Officials

Published on Jul 13, 2022 05:10 AM IST

The report will be submitted before a city court on Thursday, which is hearing Imam’s plea that he was assaulted and abused, and his belongings were thrown around during the search.

Sharjeel Imam.(REUTERS)
Sharjeel Imam.(REUTERS)
By, New Delhi

A jailor and several convicts in the Tihar prison complex entered inmate Sharjeel Imam’s cell to conduct a search on June 30 during which Imam and others resisted the inspection, but were not assaulted, said officials aware of an internal inquiry.

The report will be submitted before a city court on Thursday, which is hearing Imam’s plea that he was assaulted and abused, and his belongings were thrown around during the search.

Searches by convicts are against prison rules, he said in his plea.

Wardens and convicts assaulted Imam on June 30, his lawyer said in court on July 4.

Only officials of the Tamil Nadu special police and competent staff should enter his cell, Imam’s plea stated. Prison officers denied the allegations and said that the search was conducted by an officer of the rank of assistant superintendent.

Imam, a student of Jawaharlal Nehru University, has been charged with sedition for giving a speech that allegedly promoted enmity among people during the protests against India’s new citizenship law in December 2019.

Imam was later booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and named as a co-accused in a case related to the conspiracy behind the Delhi riots. Police alleged that his inflammatory speeches had led to riots in Jamia Milia Islamia and also to fueled communal tension in the days leading to the 2020 Delhi riots. Imam, who is lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail, has denied wrongdoing.

“There were 6-7 convicts who work as sewadars (volunteers) and help prison officials inside the jail. At around 7 in the evening, a search was conducted by the assistant superintendent. He was assisted by the sewadars, which is not illegal. Sewadars help prison officers in many tasks inside the jail but they are not authorised officers. The search was conducted by our assistant superintendent,” a prison officer, who declined to be named, said

“They had conducted searches in other cells too, where there was no problem. They met with resistance at Sharjeel Imam’s cell, but there was no assault. There was jostling between Imam and other inmates resisted. But no one was assaulted. This will also be part of the inquiry report,” he said.

On June 10, a city court had asked prison authorities to respond to Imam’s plea.

Imam’s lawyer Ahmad Ibrahim said they would comment only after the prison department submits the report in court. He said, “My client has categorically said that he was assaulted by the prison staff,” Ibrahim said. “The act may also have been captured on the CCTV camera. We will respond once they file their reply.”

A prison spokesperson said, “There was a search conducted in his cell but there was no manhandling. We will file our reply in the court.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Prawesh Lama covers crime, policing, and issues of security in Delhi. Raised in Darjeeling, educated in Mumbai, he also looks at special features on social welfare in the National Capital.

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