More than hundred students from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) marched on Monday in solidarity with JNU student Sharjeel Imam who has been charged with sedition for calling on CAA protesters to ‘block roads in Assam’ in protests, and to condemn the on-going media trial against Muslim student activists including Sharjeel.
Five states have charged Sharjeel Imam, a PhD student at Jawaharlal Nehru University, with sedition and other serious offences. The states include Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Delhi and the charges include offences under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
The cases are based on a speech he allegedly made at Aligarh Muslim University, on January 16. In a video recording of the speech, Sharjeel called on protesters to organize protests in the form of roadblocks and shutdowns in Assam. Police officials and many BJP owned media outlets claimed that Sharjeel purportedly said that India and the North East could be “permanently cut” if “five lakh people can be organised” in his speech. While the police said the speech promotes violence and secessionism, Sharjeel clarified he was asking for a blockade.
The JNU students march started from Ganga Dhaba and went through several hostel areas, culminating at the Chandrabhaga Hostel.
“Revoke all cases against Sharjeel immediately,” students demanded.
The march was organised by JNU Students Union Councillors Afreen Fatima and Farhat Salim and organisations including Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students’ Association (BAPSA), Bahujan Sahitya Sangh, RJD students wing CRJD, DSU, Eqbal Ahmed Study Circle, Fraternity Movement, Hasratein, Hundred Flowers Group, MSF, MSJ, SIO and YFDA.
“We have also marched to demand the release of students in Aligarh Muslim University and Muslim activists in Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country,” one of the protesting student at JNU said.
Jamia students on Monday also took out a march in the Jamia Millia Islamia university campus raising slogans demanding the squashing of charges against Sharjeel Imam and to further repeal the ‘draconian’ UAPA.
They also demanded to stop the witch-hunting against student leaders and activists, including JNUSU Councillor Afreen Fatima.