New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru Univesity (JNU) student and activist Sharjeel Imam’s lawyer on Thursday told a Delhi court that no allegation of conspiracy can be attributed to Imam after his arrest in another riots case, days before the actual riots that happened, adding ‘arrest is prior and riot is later’.
The bench of Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat was hearing Imam’s counsel Tanveer Ahmed Mir’s arguments for bail in a northeast Delhi riots UAPA case.
Imam, who was arrested in January 2019, cannot be held for the consequences of the riots which broke out in February 2020, the lawyer argued.
“We cannot afford to have a system where conspiracies become endless and are rendered in perpetuity,” he submitted.
Opposing Mir, Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad said the “arrest of Imam is not for conspiracy in the case but for seditious speech that happened prior to arrest”.
“To say that he was arrested as part of the conspiracy is kind of a misdirected argument.”
As per the FIR, Imam was charged under Sections 13, 16, 17, 18 of the UAPA, Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act, and Section 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984.
He is also charged with various offences mentioned under the Indian Penal Code, 1860. He was denied bail multiple times.
On October 22, while dismissing the plea, Saket Court Additional Sessions Judge Anuj Aggarwal had stated that the tone and tenor of incendiary speech tend to have a debilitating effect upon public tranquility, peace, and harmony.
Various FIRs have been registered against Imam, including alleged inflammatory speeches at Jamia Millia Islamia on December 13, 2019, and at Aligarh Muslim University on December 16, 2019.
He has been in judicial custody since January 2020.
In September 2020, the main chargesheet was filed by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell.
The police had filed a voluminous chargesheet against Pinjara Tod.
The chargesheet was filed in little less than 200 days of filing an FIR to investigate the “conspiracy” angle behind the riots that rocked northeast Delhi in February 2020.
Clashes between the citizenship law supporters and protesters had spiralled out of control, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.