Student groups including Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students’ Association (BAPSA), Muslim Students Federation (MSF), Fraternity Movement, DSU, Hasratein, Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO), Students Federation of India (SFI), All India Students Association (AISA), Hundred Flowers, YFDA, Assam Study Circle, Bahujan Sahitya Sangh, RJD students wing CRJD, Collective, Eqbal Ahmed Study Circle, Muslim Students of JNU (MSJ), North East Students Forum (NSEF) and Bhagat Singh Ambedkar Students Organisation (BASO) at Jawaharlal Nehru University have extended their support to JNU student Sharjeel Imam who has been charged with sedition for calling on CAA protesters to ‘block roads in Assam’ in protests.
The student groups demanded that all charges including ‘draconian’ UAPA against Sharjeel must be revoked immediately.
The JNU Students Union also said in their statement that “they reiterates their opposition to the use of outdated colonial sedition laws and the draconian UAPA acts.”
The Delhi Police on Saturday registered a case against JNU student activist Sharjeel Imam for a controversial comment he made in a speech delivered by him on January 13. Earlier, the Aligarh Police had registered an FIR, and another one was lodged with UAPA in Assam regarding a speech Sharjeel Imam made in Aligarh on January 16.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra claimed at a press conference in Delhi that Sharjeel Imam had made the speech, where he called for stepping up the protests in Assam through road blocks to force the Centre to listen, at Shaheen Bagh on January 24.
Sharjeel told The Indian Express, “I was saying we should try to peacefully block roads wherever possible. In that context, I said you have to block roads going to Assam. It was basically a call for chakka jam.”
Saying he spoke for an hour, he added, “They can put cases on me by editing these clips, but there is nothing that they can prove,” Indian Express reports.
“An assertive Muslim being has always been the easiest and ever-ready target of the fanatical Brahmanical Hindutva forces,” BAPSA said in its statement regarding police cases against Sharjeel Imam.
” What can be termed as most bizarre and vengeful. the BJP IT Cell and the Brahmanical media on 25th January executed a hate campaign against a Muslim research scholar of JNU Sharjeel Imam. The Brahmanical hindutva forces deliberately misinterpreted a speech delivered by Imam on 1 6th January at AMU, where he speaks of intensifying the anti CAA-NRC-NPR movement by means of peaceful. democratic chakka jam or road blocks and projected the speech as containing anti- national. anti-lndia elements which finally culminated as sedition cases being filed on Sharjeel Imam by Assam Police as well as UP Police,” reads BAPSA statement.
“BAPSA condemns in strongest possible words the witch hunting of dissenting voices. particularly the suppression of an assertive. educated Muslim voice of JNU — Sharjeel Imam,” it added.
“Sharjeel Imam has been at the forefront in the fight against the regime’s attempt to make an apartheid law legal which targets to render Muslims stateless. He is in line with several others (including students of Jamia and Aligarh) who have been targeted by the state for their unflinching stand against this unjust law. The attempt to criminalse and brand Sharjeel as a anti-national had been taken up through sheer fake propaganda by sangh Parivar media houses like Republic TV. Such fake reportage and blatant attempt to sabotage the ongoing protests (by calling him the ‘mastermind’ with Islamophobic undertones) were not seen as ‘illegal’ or criminal. instead of that, Sharjeel who is the victim of jinigoistic hatred has been criminalised,” condemning the police actions against Sharjeel, Fraternity Movement JNU unit said in its statement.
“Fraternity Movement stands with Sharjeel and demands that all charges against him must be revoked immediately. We believe that legitimate protest is a constitutional right, which cannot be diverted through propoganda and lies that are Islamophobic in nature,” reads the statement.