A Delhi court on Monday slapped fresh sedition charges against JNU student Sharjeel Imam in a case related to alleged inflammatory speeches made by him during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) in 2019.
“Charges are being framed under sections 124 (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief) of Indian Penal Code, and Section 13 (punishment for unlawful activities) of UAPA,” 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.
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 (that of) a government established by law”. Whereas, the prosecution claimed that violent riots took place pursuant to Imam’s speech.
Imam has been in judicial custody since January 2020.
Earlier, the Delhi Police had filed a chargesheet against Imam in the case, in which it said that he allegedly gave speeches inciting hatred, contempt, and disaffection towards the Central Government and instigated people, which led to the violence in December 2019.
Meanwhile, in October 2021, a Delhi court had denied bail to Imam in the sedition case lodged against him. Rejecting his bail plea, Additional Sessions Judge Anuj Agrawal had noted that the evidence in support of the allegations that the rioters got instigated by Imam’s speech and thereafter indulged in the acts of rioting, mischief, attacking the police party, was scanty and sketchy.
While maintaining that the evidence in support of the allegations that the rioters got instigated by Imam’s speech was scanty and sketchy, the court said neither any eyewitness has been cited by the prosecution nor is there any other evidence on record to suggest that the co-accused got instigated and committed the alleged act of rioting upon hearing Imam’s speech.
Further, the court had said there is no evidence corroborating the version of the prosecution that alleged rioters were a part of the audience addressed by Imam on December 13, 2019. It had said that the essential link between the speech date and the subsequent acts is conspicuously missing.