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Delhi Court denies Sharjeel Imam's bail plea for inflammatory speeches during CAA protests Sharjeel Imam
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Delhi Court denies Sharjeel Imam's bail plea for inflammatory speeches during CAA protests

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 22 Oct 2021, 05:32 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: A Delhi court Friday dismissed the bail plea of JNU student and activist Sharjeel Imam who has been accused of making inflammatory and instigating speeches during the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) protests, according to media reports.

While dismissing Imam's bail plea, the court quoted Swami Vivekananda, "We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think; Words are secondary; Thoughts live; they travel far", news agency ANI reported.

The report said, during the hearing, Delhi's Saket Court Additional Sessions Judge Anuj Aggarwal observed that "a cursory and plain reading of the speech dated December 13, 2019, reveals that same is clearly on communal/divisive lines. In my view, the tone and tenor of the incendiary speech tend to have a debilitating effect upon public tranquillity, peace and harmony of the society."

"Considering the contents of speech which tend to have a debilitating effect on the communal peace and harmony, I am not inclined to grant bail to the applicant/accused Sharjeel Imam at this stage. The accused cannot claim any parity with co-accused as his role is entirely different from other co-accused. Accordingly, the instant application moved on behalf of accused Sharjeel Imam for grant of regular bail stands dismissed," the Judge made further observations.

The court noted that the issue of the said speech would fall within the ambit of section 124A (Sedition) Indian Penal Code or not, requires a deeper analysis at an appropriate stage in view of the settled position of law, the report stated.

Though the constitution places the right to liberty of speech on a very high pedestal, it also imposes a reasonable restriction upon the exercise of the said right inter alia on the grounds of public order and incitement to offence.

Further, Article 51A(e) of the Constitution also casts a fundamental duty upon citizens of this country to promote harmony and spread common brotherhood amongst all the people of India, transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities. Therefore, it is no gainsaying that the fundamental right of 'freedom of speech and expression' cannot be exercised at the cost of communal peace and harmony of the society, the court said.

Sharjeel Imam was arrested on January 28, 2020, from Bihar for allegedly making a seditious speech and abetting riots in the Jamia Millia Islamia area in December last year.

In a speech in HIndi, allegedly made at an anti-CAA protest, Sharjeel Imam purportedly said: "Time has come to tell the non-Muslims if they sympathise with us then they have to stand with us on our terms. If they cannot accept our terms, they are not our symapthisers."

"I have told this before and I am repeating it again that if we have 5 lakh people organised, we can permanently cut off Assam from rest of India, if not permanently then at least for few months.

"Create ruckus on roads and railway tracks so that it takes them months to clear...it is our responsibility to cut off Assam from India. Only after Assam is seperated from India will they listen to us."

"We all know the condition of Muslims in Assam. CAA, NRC have been implemented there. People are being thrown into detention camps. There is a massacre going on there. In the next six to eight months we may find out all the Bengalis, whether Muslims or Hindus, have been killed," he said.

"If we want to help Assam, we have to block the way for Army to reach Assam and also the supplies.

"And, we can do this. The chicken-neck corridor that connects the northeast with the rest of India is primarily inhabited by the Muslims," he said.

Remember, if the masses are angry it should be used purposefully and not wasted on photo sessions, he said.

According to Delhi Police, Sharjeel Imam was seen instigating a particular religious community against the government by creating unfounded fears in their minds regarding CAB and NRC.

As per the prosecution, speeches delivered by the applicant/accused were seditious, communal/divisive in nature and were aimed at promoting enmity between different religions.

After the investigation was completed, Imam was charge-sheeted with an offence under section 124A/153A for the speech dated December 12, 2019. He was also charge-sheeted for offences under section 143/147/148/149/186/353/332/333/307/308/427/435/323/341/ 120B/34 IPC and 3/4, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and under section 25/27 Arms Act with aid of section 109 IPC for instigating co-accused in committing the said offences.