Sedition-UAPA case: Nothing in speech caused religious animosity, says Sharjeel Imam

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Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Sharjeel Imam, arrested for allegedly making inflammatory speeches during the protests against CAA and NRC, told a Delhi court on Wednesday that there was nothing in his speech that caused religious animosity.

Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat was hearing a case filed against Imam for the alleged speeches given by him at two universities in 2019, where he allegedly threatened to cut off Assam and the rest of the Northeast from India.

He was arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and for the alleged offence of sedition under the IPC and has now sought bail as well discharge in the case.

Imam has also approached the Delhi High Court seeking bail in another sedition case relating to 2019 Jamia violence.

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During the proceedings, counsel for Imam said, From the impugned speech, there is nothing which per se causes any kind of religious animosity. We cannot lose sight of the context. What Sharjeel Imam says, in relation to CAA-NRC, is that in much as it affects one community directly, what kind of support is to be elicited from the majority community.

Advocate Tanveer Ahmed Mir added, If a person is to say in regard to a government policy which directly affects a community A that people of other community B should stand with them otherwise they are not supporting you, then we cannot say that that part of the speech promotes animosity between two communities.

He also apprised the judge about the recent Allahabad High Court order granting bail to Imam in a sedition case registered against him for a speech he made at Aligarh Muslim University in January 2020.

Rest I leave to the great wisdom of the court, he told the court and concluded his argument.

Following this, ASJ Rawat reserved for December 7 the order on his applications seeking bail and discharge and directed Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad to file detailed written submissions on behalf of the State.

In the last hearing, the prosecutor told the court that violent riots took place pursuant to Imams speech. “He tried to create an anarchy by saying that there is no hope left for the Muslim community and that there is no other way left, Prasad had said.

The alleged inflammatory speeches for which he was arrested were allegedly 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 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 (IPC), and indulging in unlawful activities under the UAPA.

Delhi Police had filed a charge sheet against Imam in the case, in which it alleged that he allegedly gave speeches inciting hatred, contempt, and disaffection towards the Central Government and instigated the people which led to the violence in December 2019.


(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)

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