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Anti-Hindu Delhi riots 2020: Sharjeel Imam terms his seditious speeches as ‘Gandhian’, Police opposes bail plea saying ‘he left no room for peaceful protest’

On Tuesday Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad said that the protests were part of a scheme by the accused to incite violence during then-US President Donald Trump's visit.

On Tuesday (19th March), the Delhi Police opposed the bail plea of Sharjeel Imam filed in the Delhi High Court. The bail plea was submitted in a sedition and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) case filed against Sharjeel Imam for his provocative speeches in Jamia Millia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University during anti-CAA protests in Delhi on December 13, 2019, and January 16, 2020, respectively.

The police mentioned Imam’s provocative speeches to argue that he rallied people of the ‘minority community’ and propagated ‘chakka jam’ as a means of disruption with “no window for peaceful protest.”

Notably, Sharjeel Imam, United Against Hate founder Khalid Saifi, and several others, including Umar Khalid, have been charged under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and provisions of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly being the masterminds of the February 2020 anti-Hindu riots in North-East Delhi, which killed 53 people and injured over 700 during anti-CAA protests.

On Tuesday Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad said that the protests were part of a scheme by the accused to incite violence during then-US President Donald Trump’s visit. Prasad added that Sharjeel Imam, in his public speeches, advocated the idea of ‘chakka jam’ as a plan of action, adding that “confrontational violence has to happen.”

“His speeches are completely for the purpose of mobilisation. It is targeting ‘you will be finished if you don’t come on roads, you will have nothing left’. All speeches are identical. All are about chakka jam, Babri, triple talaq, CAA and article 370. So mobilisation has been done, chakka jam has been done, confrontation has been done and then the riots happen,” Prasad said.

The Special Public Prosecutor further highlighted Imam’s speech wherein he spoke about “cutting off” the Northeast from the rest of the country by blocking the “chicken neck” corridor.

Meanwhile, Imam’s counsel contended that the accused’s means of disruption was ‘Gandhian’ and that he did not make calls for violence or terrorist act in his speeches.

This comes after the court rejected Sharjeel Imam’s statutory bail plea last month. While rejecting the plea, the Court had noted that even though Sharjeel Imam did not ask anyone to pick up weapons, his speeches captured the minds of people of “a particular community” and might be the reason for the outbreak of riots in the city. The next hearing in the matter is to take place on 20th March.

Sharjeel Imam was arrested by Delhi Police on 28th January 2020, from Bihar over inflammatory speeches against the Citizenship Amendment Act, advocating for the secession of Assam from the rest of India.

The accusations against Sharjeel Imam were framed under sections 124A (sedition), 153A, 153B, 505 of the IPC, and 13 of the UAPA as per Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat.

Imam has been charged with sedition, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, imputations prejudicial to national integration, and public mischief under the Indian Penal Code, and indulging in unlawful activities under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The Delhi Police had filed a charge sheet against Sharjeel Imam in the matter, alleging that he offered statements inciting hatred, contempt, and disaffection toward the central government, as well as instigating the people who resulted in the December 2019 riots.

In January 2022, Delhi’s Karkardooma court slapped a fresh sedition charge against Sharjeel Imam over his provocative anti-CAA speeches.

Multiple FIRs were filed against Imam for a speech in which he allegedly asked the protestors to cut off Assam from India. FIRs were filed at Police stations in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. He also got bail in the cases filed at Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Imam was accused of making provocative speeches outside Jamia Milia Islamia University in December 2019 that led to violence outside the campus. In April 2020, he was charged with sedition by Delhi Police. According to the FIR, his speech promoted enmity between communities that led to the riots at the area where the University is located.

Another FIR in the Jamia case was registered against Imam in the Aligarh district. Both FIRs were registered in January 2020 under Sections 124 A (sedition) and 153 A (promoting or attempting to promote disharmony or feelings of enmity on the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever), 153B (making statements provoking breach of peace) and 505(2) (statements made which are alarming, false intention to create disharmony) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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