Anti-CAA activist Sharjeel Imam arrested by Delhi cops

Anti-CAA activist Sharjeel Imam arrested by Delhi police in Bihar

Credit: ANI Photo

Anti-CAA activist Sharjeel Imam, who was evading police for the past few days after he was slapped with sedition cases, was arrested from Bihar's Jehanabad amid claims that he surrendered before the investigators.

As the Delhi poll campaign is entering hectic phase, Imam had become a talking point, with Home Minister Amit Shah and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday locking horns over the case with the latter questioning why the student was not arrested despite the latter wielding authority.

Imam, a computer graduate from IIT-Mumbai who is currently pursuing a PhD from Centre for Historical Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), was apprehended by a team of Delhi Police and their Bihar counterparts, while he was on the way to court to surrender. He will be brought to Delhi after obtaining transit remand from a Bihar court.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Delhi Police Crime Branch) told reporters that his vehicle was intercepted by police near Kako village in Jehanabad district and taken into custody. He is wanted in connection with his speech in Jamia on December 13 last year, which police said was seditious.

The capital's police had registered a case of sedition, causing disaffection to the State as well as calling for mutiny in armed forces following his speech. Police in Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh have also registered cases of sedition against Imam, who is considered one of the organisers of the Shaheen Bagh protest in the national capital.

A sedition case was registered after a video of Imam's purported speech went viral on social media where he was taking about "cutting off" Assam and the north-east from the rest of India. "If five lakh people are organised, we can cut off the North-East and India permanently. If not, at least for a month or half a month. Throw as much 'mawad' (variously described as pus or rubbish) on rail tracks and roads that it takes the Air Force one month to clear it," he had said.

Deo said a Delhi Police team had reached Bihar on January 26 and with the help of Bihar Police conducted searches for Imam. A raid was conducted on Monday evening and his brother Muzammil was also picked up.

Asked about claims that Imam surrendered, he said accused always claim so and surrendering can happen only in court. "We have arrested him," he said adding his role in violence that erupted during anti-CAA protests near Jamia Millia Islamia will be investigated.

The arrest of Imam also triggered a BJP attack on Kejriwal with party leaders asking will the AAP supremo will now go to Shaheen Bagh as challenged by Shah with the arrest of Imam.

On Monday, Shah said, "you (the AAP leaders) people say that you are with Shaheen Bagh. If you have the guts then go and sit with them. And let Delhi decide...I want to ask Kejriwal whether he is in favour of apprehending Sharjeel Imam or not? Whether you are with the people of Shaheen Bagh or not, please tell the people of Delhi."

To this, Kejriwal had retorted, "Sharjeel talked about separating Assam from the country. It is very serious. You are the country's home minister. This statement of yours depicts petty politics. It is your duty to immediately arrest him. He made the statement two days back, why are you not arresting him? What is the compulsion or do you want to do more dirty politics on the matter?"