Court takes cognisance of case against Sharjeel Imam

Delhi court takes cognisance of offence of sedition against Sharjeel Imam

Sharjeel Imam. Credit: Reuters file photo.

A Delhi court on Saturday took cognisance of the offence of sedition against JNU student Sharjeel Imam in a case related to the violence during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in December last year, which resulted in damage to public property and injuries to police near Jamia Millia Islamia.

Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat took cognisance of the offences under sections 124 A (sedition), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language), 153 B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration), and 505 (public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Imam.

The court had earlier taken cognisance of the offence under section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against Imam, but deferred taking cognisance of offences under IPC sections 124 A, 153 A, 153 B, 505 as the requisite sanctions were awaited.

The court took cognisance of the offences after the Delhi Police filed a supplementary charge sheet mentioning the requisite sanctions granted by the authorities concerned.

"The requisite sanction...has been filed. I have perused the supplementary charge ­sheet. In view of the same, I take cognisance for commission of offence under Section 124A/153A/153B/505 IPC,” the judge said in his order.

The Delhi Police had filed another supplementary charge sheet against Imam in the case in July this year. The police had alleged in the charge sheet that Imam gave inflammatory speeches at several places, including Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University during anti-CAA protests.

The charge sheet said that Imam allegedly gave speeches inciting hatred, contempt and disaffection towards the Centre and instigated the people which led to the violence in December last year.

"The present case has emerged from a deep seated conspiracy which was hatched under the garb of opposing the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Earlier even before the Presidential assent, the present accused (Imam) along with his associates were involved in circulating falsehood by canvassing in the Muslim dominated areas about this Bill that the Government of India intended to take away the citizenship of Muslims and also that the Muslims will be put in detention camps," it alleged.

The charge sheet further alleged that "falsehood and rumours" were being continuously spread with mischievous intent that the Citizenship Amendment Bill, coupled with National Register of Citizens (NRC), intended to take away citizenship of Indian Muslims.

"False messages were shared over social media, pamphlets were distributed among masses, individual, members of societies/NGO's were roped in to give speeches which made innocent teens believe that CAB would indeed take away the citizenship of the Indian Muslim community.

"Protests against the CAB and later on Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) were started deliberately to create a sense of insecurity amongst the Indian Muslim population,” it alleged.

Imam was arrested for his alleged inflammatory speech at Jamia Millia Islamia on December 13 and at Aligarh Muslim University on December 16, where he allegedly threatened to "cut off" Assam and the rest of the Northeast from India.

"In the garb of protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA), he (Imam) exhorted people of a particular community to block the highways leading to the major cities and resort to 'chakka jaam', thereby disrupting normal life. Also, in the name of opposing CAA he also openly threatened to cut off Assam and other Northeastern states from the rest of the country,” the charge sheet had said.

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