Sharjeel Imam

JNU Ph.D. student Sharjeel Imam, who was arrested under stringent UAPA in 2020, has filed bail petition in a Delhi court.

Imam in his bail petition said that he didn’t call for violence in anti-CAA speech in Assam.

He moved the court for bail over one year and nearly eight months since his arrest in January last year.

Imam told a Delhi court on Monday that he cannot be hammered with sedition as his speeches did not call for violence.

He was arrested from Bihar for allegedly making inflammatory speeches during the protests against CAA and NRC and later was brought to Assam for interrogation.

Imam has moved the court seeking bail in a case related to speeches made by him at two universities in 2019, where he allegedly threatened to ‘cut off’ Assam and the rest of the Northeast from India.

He has been arrested under UAPA and sedition.

During the hearing, advocate Tanveer Ahmed Mir, representing the accused, apprised Additional Sessions, Judge Amitabh Rawat, that no part of his speech called for any kind of violence to be initiated.

“When Sharjeel Imam says that this piece of legislation (CAA/NRC) is unconstitutional, and seeks to persuade the government to rethink and says if you don’t do it, we will be on the streets, he cannot be hammered by sedition,” the counsel asserted.

He further said that the right to protest, the right to blockade, and the right to bring the country to a standstill is not equal to an act of sedition.

“The speech did not call for violence. He just called for a road blockade. He did not say that the northeast should become a different state and declare independence. That would have been seditious,” added advocate Mir.

He said Imam is not a member of any proscribed group or terrorist gang but is merely a student.

The alleged inflammatory speeches were made at Jamia Millia Islamia on December 13, 2019, and at Aligarh Muslim University on December 16, 2019.

He is in judicial custody since January 28, 2020.

Imam is accused of offenses relating to sedition, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, imputations prejudicial to national integration, and public mischief under the Indian Penal Code, and indulging in unlawful activities under the UAPA.

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