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Sharjeel Imam Claims Threat to Life in Jail, Moves Court

Sharjeel Imam in his petition before the court alleged that 8 to 10 people 'in the name of search' entered his cell in Tihar Jail on June 30 when he was assaulted and called 'terrorist and anti-national'.

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New Delhi: Former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Sharjeel Imam, an accused in a case related to the alleged conspiracy behind the 2020 Northeast Delhi riots, on Monday, July 4, moved a Delhi court claiming a threat to his life.

The application, which is likely to come up for hearing before Special Judge Amitabh Rawat on July 14, alleged that the assistant superintendent of jail recently had entered his cell in Tihar Jail along with eight-ten people in the garb of a search, assaulted him and called him a “terrorist and anti-national”.

Imam’s lawyer Ibrahim moved an application before a link judge at Karkardooma court to issue show cause notice to jail authorities for the “illegal assault and search committed upon the applicant” and to direct authorities to take immediate steps to protect him from any “further assault/ harassment”, the Indian Express has reported.

His lawyer alleged that about 8 to 10 convicts came to Imam’s cell “in the name of carrying out a search” on June 30 evening when they threw his books and clothes away besides assaulting him.

The plea also urged the court to direct jail authorities to preserve video recorded on CCTV camera of the jail from 7:15 pm to 8:30 pm on Thursday, June 30, when the alleged incident took place. The judge issued a notice to the jail authorities concerned. The matter is listed to be heard on July 14 by when the authorities are expected to file their report.

Imam’s lawyer said he was informed by the former of the assault on Monday, July 4, when he was produced at Karkardooma court for his appearance in the riots case registered under the stringent UAPA sections.

Speaking to Indian Express, Ibrahim said, “I moved the application to secure his safety. This is the first case of an assault that was disclosed by a riot accused. Search operations are regularly carried out inside his cell and they have never found contraband. This time, jail staff came with convicts which is illegal. Only jail staff can check the cells.”

The IE report also quoted a senior prison official who said that inquiry will be conducted into the alleged incident. “We have received information about the incident and will conduct an enquiry. We are looking into the allegations against jail officials and inmates. We also received a request to preserve the CCTV footage and will do the same.”

Imam is accused of making inflammatory speeches against the government on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens (NRC), particularly at Jamia Milia Islamia University in December 2019, which allegedly led to violence in the area outside the university.

Imam, also facing sedition charges for his alleged inflammatory speeches, is in judicial custody since January 2020.

Delhi Police had filed a charge sheet against Imam in the case, in which it alleged that he delivered speeches inciting hatred, contempt, and disaffection towards the central government and instigated the people which led to the violence in December 2019.

(With PTI inputs)