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Delhi court frames sedition charge against Sharjeel Imam, denies him bail

New Delhi, January 24

A Delhi court on Monday framed charges under sedition against JNU student Sharjeel Imam and denied him bail in a case related to alleged inflammatory speeches made by him during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) in 2019.

“Accused is directed to be charged for the offences under sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity on grounds of religion), 153B (assertions prejudicial to national integration), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief), of Indian Penal Code and section 13 (punishment for unlawful activities) of UAPA. Vide separate order, the application filed by Sharjeel Imam for grant of regular bail is dismissed,” Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat ordered.

As per the prosecution, Imam had allegedly made speeches at Jamia Millia Islamia on December 13, 2019, and at Aligarh Muslim University on December 16, 2019, where he threatened to cut off Assam and the rest of the Northeast from India.

Imam, while seeking bail, said that his speeches do not fall within the meaning of Sedition. “Where is the call of violence? How does Sedition come into play? The context is to block the roads. How is this seditious? He called for a greater federal structure. That was the intent,” his lawyer had argued before the court.

Whereas, the prosecution claimed that his speeches incited hatred, contempt, and disaffection towards the Central Government and instigated the people which led to the violence in December 2019.

“In the garb of CAA, he (Imam) exhorted people of a particular community to block highways leading to major cities and resort to ‘chakka jaam’. Also, in the name of opposing CAA, he openly threatened to cut off Assam and other Northeastern states from the rest of the country,” the Delhi Police’s charge sheet stated.

Imam is in judicial custody since January 2020. He is also one of the accused in the Delhi riots conspiracy case.

In his defense, Imam had earlier told the court that he is not a terrorist and his prosecution is a “whip of a monarch rather than a government established by law”. Whereas, the prosecution claimed that violent riots took place pursuant to Imam’s speech.

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. —

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