Delhi court denies bail to Sharjeel Imam in 2019 Jamia violence case

The judge said that while Sharjeel Imam’s speech two days before the violence could have had a ‘debilitating effect on peace and harmony’, evidence that it instigated rioters was scanty.
Sharjeel Imam
Sharjeel Imam
Written by :

A Delhi court on Friday, October 22 denied bail to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Sharjeel Imam in connection with allegedly giving an inflammatory speech and inciting violence in 2019. The court said that the speech was on communal lines and its contents “tend to have a debilitating effect on the peace and harmony”. However, the evidence supporting the allegations that rioters were instigated by the speech was scanty, the court noted.

According to the police, Sharjeel allegedly delivered a provocative speech on December 13, 2019. They alleged that the speech triggered the large-scale violence that took place two days later in Jamia Nagar and nearby areas during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Denying bail to Sharjeel, Additional Sessions Judge Anuj Agrawal said that a cursory and plain reading of the speech showed that it was clearly on communal lines. “The tone and tenor of the incendiary speech tend to have a debilitating effect upon public tranquillity, peace and harmony of the society,” he added. Citing a quote by Swami Vivekananda, Judge Agrawal said, “We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think; Words are secondary; Thoughts live; they travel far.”

The judge, however, noted that the evidence in support of the allegations that the rioters were instigated by Sharjeel’s speech and thereafter indulged in the acts of rioting, mischief, and attacking the police party was scanty and sketchy.

Earlier, Sharjeel’s counsel Tanveer Ahmed Mir had argued that being critical of the government cannot be the cause of sedition. However, the Judge refused to comment on whether the speech falls under the ambit of section 124A (sedition), stating that the same requires “deeper analysis”.

As per the case, Sharjeel made the alleged inflammatory speeches at Jamia Millia Islamia on December 13, 2019, and at Aligarh Muslim University on December 16, 2019. He has been in judicial custody since January 2020. Besides this case, Sharjeel is also accused of being the “mastermind” of the February 2020 northeast Delhi riots, which had left 53 people dead and over 700 injured.

(With PTI and IANS inputs)

Related Stories

No stories found.
The News Minute