Sharjeel Imam’s interim bail plea following assault in cell adjourned

Imam, also facing sedition charges for his alleged inflammatory speeches, is in judicial custody since January 2020.

New Delhi: Jail authorities on Wednesday submitted before a Delhi court the CCTV footage of June 30, when former JNU student Sharjeel Imam was allegedly assaulted and called a terrorist during a security check inside the Tihar jail premises.

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The proceeding took place before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat who was hearing the interim bail application moved by Imam in a case related to the alleged conspiracy behind the 2020 north-east Delhi riots.

During the brief hearing advocate Ahmad Ibrahim, appearing for Imam, said that multiple cases against the accused primarily pertained to speeches, which were the subject matter of the present criminal prosecution.

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Imam meets the proverbial triple test for bail as he is not a flight risk, nor at the risk of influencing witnesses or tampering with the evidence , the counsel said.

As far as the charge under Section 13 of UAPA was concerned, in his speeches, Imam did not make any conscious call for violence or incitement to violent activities, the counsel added.

Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad raised objections and said there could not be a blanket stay on the continuation of proceedings.

There are formal and technical expert witnesses in the case. Their examination will not cause any prejudice in the matter. For the examination of material witnesses, the court can decide at that particular stage, Prasad said.

For interim bail, the court had to consider the gravity of the offence, he said.

Instead of seeking relief, Sharjeel was taking the system for trial, Prasad added.

The court adjourned for July 23 the hearing on an interim bail application.

Imam is accused of making inflammatory speeches against the government on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens (NRC), particularly at Jamia Milia Islamia University in December 2019, which allegedly led to violence in the area outside the university.

Imam, also facing sedition charges for his alleged inflammatory speeches, is in judicial custody since January 2020.

Delhi Police had filed a charge sheet against Imam in the case, in which it alleged that he gave speeches inciting hatred, contempt, and disaffection towards the central government and instigated the people which led to the violence in December 2019.

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