Delhi court sends Sharjeel Imam to 5-day police custody in sedition case
A Delhi court on Wednesday sent Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Sharjeel Imam, arrested on sedition charges, to five days of police custody.
Imam was arrested from his village in Bihar’s Jehanabad by a joint team of Delhi and Bihar police on Tuesday, three days after a case of sedition was registered against him in Delhi for his allegedly “inflammatory and instigating” speech.
Police in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Manipur had filed FIRs after a video of his purported speech outside the Jamia Millia Islamia during an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest on December 13, 2019, calling to “cut off the Northeast” surfaced.
Following his arrest, the Delhi Police had said they will also probe his role in the three cases of violence and vandalism at Jamia Millia University and New Friends Colony on December 13 and 15.
He has been booked under sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between religious groups) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code.
Former JNU Students Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar who also faces a sedition charge said there are enough laws to arrest someone for an offensive speech.
“If someone gives an instigating speech then FIR can be registered against him under various sections...But if sedition laws are misused then it is not right for the unity and security of our country,” ANI quoted him as saying.
The JNU Teachers Association has also criticized the sedition charge against Imam. “… it has been persuasively argued by legal experts that these remarks do not warrant a charge of sedition and there are other reasons behind the sedition law being invoked,” it said in a statement.
JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh also issued a statement saying “…what is to be noted is how the sedition law of the colonial era has been used time and again to target and witch-hunt political voices…main agenda is to de-legitimise the democratic protests going on throughout the country led by women and youth against …CAA-NPR-NRC.”
She also criticized the police saying, “The urgency shown by Delhi Police on this matter and being totally absent during the 5th January shows clearly on whose line the police are working.”
On January 5, teachers and students in JNU were attacked by a masked mob. More than three weeks since the attack, the Delhi Police is yet to make a single arrest.