A Delhi court has framed sedition charges against JNU student Sharjeel Imam for allegedly making provocative speeches in New Delhi’s Jamia area and at the Aligarh Muslim University against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Imam has been booked under several cases, including a UAPA case in connection with the Northeast Delhi riots. For the speech he gave at Aligarh Muslim University on January 16, 2020, he was booked for sedition by police of five states — Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, New Delhi, Manipur — and arrested from Bihar.
The charges have been framed under Indian Penal Code sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity grounds of religion, race), 153B (making statements provoking breach of peace) and 505(2) (statements made which are alarming, false intention to create disharmony) and Section 13 (punishment for unlawful activities) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
In his speech, Imam had purportedly asked the protestors to “cut off Assam from India” by occupying the “Muslim-dominated Chicken’s Neck”.
The comment was widely perceived as secessionist, but Imam later claimed that he had called for peaceful protests to “block roads going to Assam” – “basically a call for chakka jam”.
In November, Imam got bail in the case but continued to be lodged in Tihar jail since he has also been charged in the Delhi riots conspiracy case and the Jamia protest violence case.
The Delhi Police have claimed in the First Information Report that there was a larger conspiracy that led to the violence that erupted in the national capital in February last year, in which 53 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.