Police File Case Against JNU Student for Threatening to 'Cut Off' Assam

Denounced by Shaheen Bagh protestors for trying to scuttle anti-CAA dharna, Sharjeel Imam is now being called the ‘mastermind’ of the protest by certain TV channels.

New Delhi:  The Assam BJP-led coalition government filed a sedition case against a JNU student Sharjeel Imam on Saturday for a speech he delivered on the Aligarh Muslim University campus on January 16 against the amended Citizenship Act and National Register of Citizens.

“A video clip of this speech was circulating on social media since Friday night and [a] subsequent probe, including inputs from AMU authorities, confirmed that it pertained to a speech, containing subversive comments, that was delivered when Sharjeel Imam was addressing a protest rally at AMU,” Senior Superintendent of Police Akash Kulhari said.

Kulhari said that a police team has left for New Delhi to arrest the student leader.

When contacted, AMU spokesman professor Shafey Kidwai said that the contents of the video include some comments which are “highly objectionable” and university authorities are taking this matter very seriously.

He said the authorities will write a letter to the police to take strong action in this matter.

“We have zero tolerance for any activity which can in any way come under the category of anti-national activity. On January 10, we had written to the state government requesting them to keep a strict vigil on any external element who may infiltrate the ranks of our students who are holding a dharna at the Baab-e-Syed gate against the amended Citizenship Act,” Kidwai said.

“We have also issued strict directives to our security staff to be extra careful about the identity of any external element who can infiltrate the campus and try to instigate trouble,” he added.

Kidwai said that it was also in the broader interest of the student leadership at AMU to ensure that no such mischievous element is given any sort of space inside the campus as it would reflect on them as well.

On the video clip, Imam says he can mobilise lakhs of people to cut off Assam from the rest of India for as long as a month as a means of putting an end to what he said was the killing of “Bengalis, Muslims and Hindus” in the state.

Sharjeel Imam’s comments on video are being used by the right-wing ecosystem to paint the entire movement against CAA and NRC as “anti-national”, despite the fact that all of the protest marches and sit-ins on the issue have centred around Indian constitution and its values.

In fact, the collective reading of the constitution’s preamble has been one of the most-used protest activities in demonstrations across the country.  

Imam, who is being called the “mastermind” of the Shaheen Bagh protest by some TV channels, was actually denounced by the demonstrators there when he unilaterally and falsely declared, a few weeks ago, that the dharna has been called off because certain vested political interests were trying to hijack it.

Not only did the Shaheen Bagh protest continue after this episode, it has witnessed greater participation from all sections of society.

“No one individual’s videos, statements or articles can represent the movement,” a Twitter handle called ‘Shaheen Bagh Official’ tweeted in response, along with a detailed statement, late on Saturday.

(With PTI inputs)