The chargesheet talked about the bigotry of Sharjeel attributing it to the book he had read and his M. Phil. thesis on ‘‘Exodus before partition: The attack on Muslims in Bihar in 1946”
NEW DELHI – Brickbats are being hurled at the Delhi police who in their charge-sheet against the Jawaharlal Nehru University student Sharjeel Imam in a sedition case have cited his M. Phil. thesis, the anti-CAA pamphlets, etc. as evidence against him.
The police filed a 600-page charge-sheet against him before Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana at Patiala House even as Sharjeel has been languishing in jail since the last of week of January.
He was arrested for giving a speech against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and for his protests against the law in which he called for a road blockade to mount pressure on the Government. He was booked in four states –Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh — under various Sections of penal codes, including the draconian UAPA.
According to Indian Express, in the chargesheet, the police stated that Sharjeel got radicalised after reading the books like ‘‘Forms of Collective Violence, Riots, Pogroms, and Genocide in Modern India’ by Paul Brass”. The chargesheet talked about the bigotry of Sharjeel attributing it to the book he had read and his M. Phil. (Master of Philosophy) thesis on ‘‘Exodus before partition: The attack on Muslims in Bihar in 1946”.
In the charge-sheet, the police said that the book “catalogues the various forms of collective violence that have occurred in India during the past six decades, which include riots, pogroms, and genocide… It says that the various forms of violence must be understood not as spontaneous outbreaks of passion, but as an act of organised groups. By reading only such literature and not researching alternative sources, the accused (Imam) became highly radicalised and religiously bigoted.”
It further claimed that Sharjeel has read many such books during his M. Phil. thesis, as claimed by the police, “which made (up) his mind that Muslims are oppressed since very long and affirmed his religious bigotry that lacks faith in democratic and constitutional values”.
The charge-sheet also noted his anti-Brahmanism comments to prove him as “highly religiously bigoted person”. “Through his speeches, he not only discriminated between Hindus and Muslims but also tried to drive a wedge between the two communities by constantly referring to the Brahminical conscience and further labelling the Constitution as a document written by educated ‘Pandits’,” stated the charge-sheet.
The police accused Sharjeel of distributing anti-CAA pamphlets which said that millions of people would be declared illegal residents, imprisoned and expelled because of this new citizenship Act. The police said Sharjeel also held out a warning about the detention centres in Assam where, he said, people lived like animals “but there was no detention centre in Assam”.
The chargesheet also talked about the Shaheen Bagh sit-in protest terming it “mother of all anti-CAA protests” and cited a comment on it in the chargesheet. “Cool. Shashi Tharoor should come and go as he wishes. Uski kitab ‘why I am a Hindu’ ka bookstall bhi laga dete hain phir pakka koi anti-Hindu nahi bolega. Sahi hai na (Let’s display his book as well. Then no one will call the protest anti-Hindu).”
The mention of Paul Brass’s book and the M. Phil. thesis as evidence against Sharjeel has drawn criticism from several quarters. Reacting to it, the Indian Union Muslim League tweeted, “Under Modi’s rule, the researcher not supposed to read books other than from RSS approved list?”.
Under Modi’s rule, the researcher not supposed to read books other than from RSS approved list? #DelhiPolice #SharjeelImam pic.twitter.com/D7gLImlbPB
— Indian Union Muslim League (@iumlofficial) September 25, 2020
Sharjeel’s brother Muzzammil Imam said: “I am stunned. Paul Brass’s books are essential reading in any reputed political science course across India. It is just getting laughable now. They should stop embarrassing themselves”.
I am stunned. Paul Brass’s books are essential reading in any reputed political science course across India. It is just getting laughable now. They should stop embarrassing themselves. @_imaams https://t.co/mLt15dxtIO
— Muzzammil Imam | مزمل إمام (@imammuzzammil) September 21, 2020