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New Delhi: Delhi Police Wednesday said JNU student Sharjeel Imam began one of his alleged inflammatory speeches with ‘As-salamu alaykum’ salutation which shows it was addressed to a particular community and not the public at large.
Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Amit Prasad, representing the police, made these remarks during an argument in a sedition case filed against Imam for speeches made by him at two universities in 2019, where he allegedly threatened to cut off Assam and the rest of the Northeast from India.
During the hearing, Prasad apprised Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat that Imam attempted to create complete anarchy and gave divisive speeches during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The SPP read out a January 16 speech given by the JNU student in Aligarh and said, “He [Sharjeel Imam] begins this speech by saying ‘As-salamu alaykum’, which shows that it is only subjected to one community.”
“The people called upon to take action were also from one community. The speech was definitely divisive. It was not made for the general public at large but a specific community. He is attempting to create complete anarchy,” Prasad added.
The alleged inflammatory speeches were made by Imam at Jamia Millia Islamia on December 13, 2019, and at Aligarh Muslim University on December 16, 2019. He is in judicial custody since January 2020.
In the three-hour-long hearing, Prasad emphasised that Imam is not a simple pickpocket or small-time drug peddler but a man with excellent oratory skills, who has written a thesis on rioting and has knowledge of how a critical mass can come together.
Furthermore, the purported speeches made by Imam during the protests were read out by the prosecutor line-by-line during the virtual hearing.
One portion of the speech as read by the SPP stated, “It is our responsibility to cut off Assam. They [the government] will listen to us only when Assam is cut off from the rest of the country. You are aware of the condition of Muslims in Assam.”
Imam is accused of offenses relating to sedition, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, imputations prejudicial to national integration, and public mischief under the Indian Penal Code, and indulging in unlawful activities under the UAPA.
Delhi Police had filed a chargesheet against Imam in the case, in which it alleged that he allegedly gave speeches inciting hatred, contempt, and disaffection towards the Central Government and instigated the people which led to the violence in December 2019.
“In the garb of CAA, he (Imam) exhorted people of a particular community to block highways leading to major cities and resort to ‘chakka jaam’. Also, in the name of opposing CAA, he openly threatened to cut off Assam and other Northeastern states from the rest of the country,” the charge sheet said.