Wednesday, February 1, 2023

JNU student Sharjeel Imam, accused of sedition, arrested from Bihar

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JNU student Sharjeel Imam, who was booked for sedition in several states, was arrested from Bihar’s Jahanabad today, hours after his brother was picked up by Bihar police.

The Delhi police have registered a case of sedition against Imam for allegedly advocating the separation of Assam from India through “divisive” speeches.

The police claimed he made divisive speeches on two occasions, once at the Jamia Millia Islamia University at the height of the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in December, the other at the Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh, another epicentre of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA, NDTV reported.

After Sharjeel Imam’s arrest, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said, “Nobody should do anything that is not in the interest of the nation. The accusations and the arrest, court will decide on the matter.”

Imam’s late father Akbar Imam was a local JD(U) leader who had unsuccessfully contested an assembly election.

Imam, who graduated from IIT-Bombay, was booked for sedition by Police of several states, including Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Bihar.

BJP’s national spokesperson Sambit Patra had held a press conference on Saturday and released the video of Imam’s speech at Aligarh Muslim University. Soon after the Assam and Uttar Pradesh police booked Imam for sedition.

The Assam police had filed an FIR against Imam under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Imam was also booked by the Arunachal Police under IPC sections 124A (an offence by words, either spoken or written causes disaffection against Government established by law), 153 A (promoting enmity between different religious groups with an intent to create disharmony) and 153 B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration).

The UP and Delhi Police had together started their search operation in different parts of the national capital to trace Imam. The Delhi Police on Monday sent a team to Bihar to arrest Imam. The Bihar Police had on Monday detained three of his relatives and a family driver for four hours, to know of Imam’s whereabouts. The detainees were later released.

Sharjeel Imam is allegedly one of the organisers of the protest at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh protest. But the protesters at Shaheen Bagh distanced themselves from his comments, saying that “no single person” can be called the organiser.

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