Anti-CAA activist Sharjeel Imam (Photo Credit: Twitter)
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) on Tuesday condemned the arrest of university student and anti-CAA activist Sharjeel Imam in a sedition case and alleged that the charge was invoked due to “other reasons”. The teacher’s body also attacked the Delhi Police, saying it immediately went after Imam while no arrest has been made in connection with the January 5 violence on JNU campus.
“While there may be considerable scope for disagreement with the remarks allegedly made by the student, it has been persuasively argued by legal experts that these remarks do not warrant a charge of sedition and there are other reasons behind the sedition law being invoked,” JNUTA said in a statement.
It said the “continuation of the colonial era law on sedition on the statute books of independent India has also been subjected to widespread questioning, particularly due to its rampant misuse by governments to curb dissent”.
JNU has also had a direct experience of this not so long ago, it said. Imam, a PhD student at the JNU’s Centre for Historical Studies, was on Tuesday arrested by Delhi Police’s crime branch from Bihar’s Jehanabad in a sedition case for allegedly making inflammatory speeches in Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh, officials said.
However, Imam, who was among the initial organisers of the protest against the amended citizenship law at Shaheen Bagh here, claimed that he had surrendered before the police.
The association also condemned the “circumstances which forced the student to surrender before the police” and said it reflects the extreme “politicisation” of the conduct of law enforcement agencies.
“Unambiguously inflammatory statements have been made by several individuals in recent times, including by those holding responsible positions in government. These have invited absolutely no action.
“The urgency which the Delhi Police has shown in the case of Sharjeel Imam has also been conspicuous by its absence when it comes to bringing the culprits of the January 5 criminal violence in JNU to boo,” it said.