New Delhi: A Delhi Court on Monday ordered the framing of sedition charge among other charges against JNU scholar and activist Sharjeel Imam in a 2019 case, in which he allegedly delivered an inflammatory speech inciting violence at Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh and Jamia area in the national capital during the CAA-NRC protests in 2019.
Additional Sessions judge Amitabh Rawat framed the charges under sections 124A (sedition), 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence), 153B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, and 505 of IPC, which deals with statements related to public order.
According to the police, Imam made the alleged inflammatory speeches in Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi on December 13, 2019, and in Aligarh Muslim University, UP on January 16, 2020, where he allegedly threatened to 'cut off' Assam and the rest of the Northeast from India. He has been in judicial custody since January 28, 2020, and is currently lodged in Tihar Jail in Delhi.
In his defence, Imam had earlier told the court that he is not a terrorist and his prosecution is a whip of a monarch rather than a government established by law whereas, the prosecution claimed that violent riots took place pursuant to Imam's speech.
Delhi Police had filed a charge sheet against Imam in the case, in which it alleged that he gave speeches inciting hatred, contempt, and disaffection towards the Central Government and instigated the people which led to the violence in December 2019.
A detailed order copy is expected to be made available later in the day.
Earlier, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Dinesh Kumar of Saket court had granted bail to him in a 2019 violence case registered at Jamia Nagar Police Station related to the violence in Jamia on December 13-14, 2019.
Though he was granted bail in the particular case, he was in judicial custody in connection with cases under various IPC sections for offences of rioting and unlawful assembly among others.
He was denied bail multiple times. On October 22, while dismissing the plea, Saket Court Additional Sessions Judge Anuj Aggarwal had stated that the tone and tenor of incendiary speech tend to have a debilitating effect upon public tranquillity, peace, and harmony.
"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 had said in its order, citing Swami Vivekananda.