Sharjeel Imam booked under stringent UAPA
Delhi Police Wednesday booked Jawaharlal Nehru University student Sharjeel Imam under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for allegedly hatching a conspiracy to incite communal riots outside Jamia Millia Islamia campus last December. He has already been arrested in this case and is in custody.
On April 18, a charge sheet was filed against Imam charging him with instigating riots and delivering seditious speech outside the university campus during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is aimed at effective prevention of unlawful activities and associations in the country. A person charged under the law can be jailed for up to seven years.
Delhi police spokesperson Anil Mittal confirmed that UAPA was added Wednesday to the case against Imam, in which he is already booked.
Imam was arrested from Bihar’s Jehanabad on January 28, by the Delhi Police for a speech he had delivered on December 13, two days after which protesters, who had gathered outside Jamia Millia Islamia campus, clashed with police during a march against the amended citizenship law.
Imam’s counsel Ahmad Ibrahim said they will take appropriate legal action in the matter soon. “The police has added UAPA provisions on the 88th day [of arrest] with the intention of keeping him jail for a longer time. We will challenge this in the appropriate manner,” he said.
At least four buses were torched, over 100 two-wheelers and vehicles damaged and more than 100 persons injured in the violence.
Last Sunday, Delhi Police had also arrested president of Alumni Association of Jamia Millia Islamia, Shifa-Ur-Rehman, under UAPA for allegedly hatching a conspiracy to incite communal riots in northeast Delhi in February.
Four days before that, the police booked suspended Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor Tahir Hussain under UAPA. Hussain is already in jail in connection with communal violence and murder of an Intelligence Bureau (IB) staffer.
The same week, police also arrested Jamia Millia Islamia students Meeran Haider and Safoora Zagar under the UAPA. They were also accused of allegedly hatching a conspiracy to incite communal riots. While Zargar is the media coordinator of Jamia Coordination Committee, Haider is a member of the committee.
Earlier this month, a 20-member group of scholars, filmmakers, advocates and writers, who said they have launched a campaign against the witch-hunt of anti-CAA activists, released a statement saying that instead of engaging with protesters, the state has chosen to detain and arrest them under harsh penal provisions.
They also said while the crime branch is already probing the case of the riots in north-east Delhi, the Delhi Police’s special cell had filed a separate FIR under which the scholars were being arrested.
“This FIR has enabled the stitching together of a political narrative where a direct link is sought to be made between anti-CAA protests and the widespread violence that rocked north-east Delhi in the end of February,” reads the statement.