JNU student leader booked for sedition after speech on AMU campus

Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma says the state will also register a case against him

Sharjeel Imam, UAPA, CAA, NRC, CAA protests
The accused has challenged trial courts April 25 order by which the Delhi Police was granted three more months, beyond statutory 90 days, to complete the investigation in the case under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. | Photo: Screengrab

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Sharjeel Imam was on Saturday (January 25) booked for sedition for a speech he delivered on the campus of Aligarh Muslim University on January 16 during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Senior Superintendent of Police Akash Kulhari said a police team has left for New Delhi to arrest the student leader.

Besides, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the state would also register a case against him. He said Imam was heard saying in an audio clip that the state should be cut-off from the rest of India and taught a lesson, as Bengalis — both Hindus and Muslims — are being killed or put into detention centres.

SSP Kulhari said a video clip of his speech was circulating on social media since Friday night and subsequent probe, including inputs from AMU authorities, confirmed that it pertained to a speech, containing subversive comments, which was delivered when Sharjeel Imam was addressing a protest rally at AMU.

Meanwhile, AMU spokesperson Professor Shafey Kidwai said the contents of the video include some comments which are “highly objectionable” and university authorities are taking this matter very seriously. He said the authorities will write a letter to the police to take strong action in this matter.

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“We have zero tolerance for any activity which can in any way come under the category of anti-national activity. On January 10, we had written to the state government requesting them to keep a strict vigil on any external element who may infiltrate the ranks of our students who are holding a dharna at the Baab-e-Syed gate against the amended citizenship act,” Kidwai said.

“We have also issued strict directives to our security staff to be extra careful about the identity of any external element who can infiltrate the campus and try to instigate trouble,” he added. Kidwai said it was also in the broader interest of the student leadership at AMU to ensure no mischievous element is given any sort of space inside the campus.

Meanwhile, Sarma, Assam’s finance minister, said the state would register a case against Imam, the alleged mastermind of the anti-citizenship law protests at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, for his “seditious” comment that the state should be cut-off from the rest of India.

Addressing a press conference, Sarma said, “Assam government has taken cognisance of this very seditious statement and we will register a case against this individual… A lot of wrong things have been said by this individual, aimed to create law and order situation in Assam. They want to destroy India. We will bring this person to court so that he is punished as per the law.”

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Thousands of people, including women and children, have been protesting since December 15 at Shaheen Bagh and nearby Jamia Millia Islamia against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The minister said the state government has verified the authenticity of the audio clip.

“The entire pattern of protests against the CAA has the same narrative in both Assam and the rest of the country. It has been fanned by members of a particular community,” Sarma alleged. “A section of this community wants to create another Pakistan out of India and we cannot allow it. We have to be vigilant against these forces.”

The people of the north east and Assam will never allow this. Assam is an integral part of India, Sarma said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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