Jamia violence: Court clears Sharjeel Imam, Asif Iqbal of charges
A Delhi court on Saturday cleared Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Sharjeel Imam and student activist Asif Iqbal Tanha of all charges related to the Jamia Milia Islamia University (JMI) December 2019 violence, reported Live Law. Additional Sessions Judge Arul Verma issued the order in the case that pertains to clashes between Delhi Police and people protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in 2019.
Why does this story matter?
- Saturday's order comes as a major relief for Imam and Tanha, although Imam has to stay in Jail for a longer period and may have to move a fresh plea to walk out.
- He was arrested for making alleged inflammatory speeches at JMI and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in 2019.
- The court, however, found "no evidence" to suggest his involvement in inciting violence.
Sharjeel Imam to stay in jail in another case
The case filed against Imam and Tanha was of rioting and unlawful assembly violations under many Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections, per Live Law. According to reports, Imam will still be kept in jail in another case filed against him in connection with the 2020 northeast Delhi riots, in which he is the prime accused.
Imam facing stringent UAPA Act
Per Hindustan Times, both Imam and Tanha had already been granted bail in the Jamia violence case. However, Imam is facing the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in the Delhi riots case, for which he is still imprisoned. According to the prosecution, Imam was previously charged with sedition for allegedly delivering anti-India speeches at JMI and AMU in December 2019.
Delhi Police's chargesheet indicting Imam in 2019 Delhi riots
In 2020, the Delhi Police filed a charge sheet against Imam, stating that he delivered speeches inciting hatred, contempt, and disaffection towards the Government of India and agitated the public, resulting in the December 2019 Delhi riots. "In the garb of CAA, Imam exhorted people of a particular community to block highways leading to major cities and resort to chakka jaam," it said.
What do we know about Jamia violence case?
On December 15, 2019, an anti-CAA demonstration at Jamia Millia Islamia became violent, injuring at least 60 people, including students, officers, and firemen. Four public buses and two police cars were set on fire in New Friends' Colony. The police entered the Jamia campus, hurling tear gas shells and baton-charging students. The students denied participating in the incident and accused the police of brutality.