Campaigned in favour of peaceful protest, chakka jam not violent protest: Sharjeel Imam to HC

Sharjeel Imam. [File Photo]

New Delhi: Defending his discharge in a 2019 Jamia Nagar violence case, JNU student Sharjeel Imam Thursday told the Delhi High Court he only campaigned in favour of peaceful protest and ‘chakka jam’ cannot be termed a “violent method of protest”, PTI reported.

Imam’s stand came in his written submissions filed in response to the Delhi Police’s plea challenging the trial court order of February 4 discharging him and several others, including student activists Asif Iqbal Tanha and Safoora Zargar, in the matter.

The case concerns the violence that erupted after a clash between police and people protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the Jamia Nagar area here in December 2019.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma listed the case for hearing on March 23 after the investigating agency sought time on account of the ill health of one of its lawyers.

The court asked the respondents to file their written submissions in the meantime.

It also directed that the electronic evidence, including videos, be placed on record, the PTI report said.

The trial court had in its February 4 order discharged 11 people in the case while holding that they were made “scapegoats” by police and that dissent has to be encouraged not stifled.

The police, in its revision petition, has said the trial court’s order is in the teeth of well settled principles of law, suffers from grave infirmities, and is perverse.

The police plea said the trial court got swayed by “emotional and sentimental feelings” and cast aspersions on the prosecuting agency. It passed “gravely prejudicial” and “adverse” remarks against the prosecuting agency and the investigation, the report said quoting a revision petition.

In his written submissions, Imam said shouting slogans in favour of a particular means of peaceful protest in no way portrays his participation in the violence that ensued later.

Imam was accused of instigating the riots by delivering a provocative speech at the Jamia Milia University on December 13, 2019. He continues to remain in jail in the larger conspiracy case of the 2020 northeast Delhi violence.

He stated the protesters had assembled in exercise of their fundamental right to assemble peacefully as guaranteed under the Constitution, and in absence of any prohibitory orders, no culpability could be attributed to him.

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