JNU scholar Sharjeel Imam was “bigoted” and he used the knowledge he obtained by reading books on Partition while doing his PhD to organise the protests against CAA and incite violence, the Delhi police have said.
His thesis was on communal riots during Partition and most of the books he read as part of his research were on “collective violence”. This left him radicalised, the police said.
Imam has been charged with sedition for his speeches during the anti-CAA protests. According to the police, the speeches led to riots at the Jamia Millia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University in December 2019. Imam, who waa arrested on January 28, has also been charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The Delhi police, which has filed a 600-page charge sheet, against Imam said he read books such as Forms of Collective Violence, Riots, Pogroms and Genocide in Modern India, by US political scientist Paul R Brass and was a member of a WhatsApp group meant for Muslim students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, The Print reported.
The WhatsApp group was used to organise the protests against the CAA, the police said.
According to the police, he incited people to resort to ‘chakka jam’ (road block) during the protests against the CAA and the National Register for Citizens. He was among the first to organise the protests at Shaheen Bagh, the police said.
“The accused is highly bigoted person who completely lacks faith in the Constitution of India and exhibits complete mistrust in it. He despises all democratic means of protest and goes on to the extent of labelling the Constitution of India as a Fascist document,” the charge sheet filed on July 17 stated, the Print reported.
According to Imam’s lawyers, his PhD thesis was titled ‘Chakka jam as a mode of protest’, and that was why he used the term ‘chakka jam’ in his speeches.