The jailed student leader’s exact statements and their effect can be examined at the time of trial which is yet to begin, adds the order
NEW DELHI — Activist and student leader Sharjeel Imam who was granted bail in the sedition case on November 27 did not incite violence or give call to pick up arms in his speech that he delivered during protests against Citizneship Amendment Act at Aligarh Muslim University Campus in December 2019, the Allahabad High Court has said in its bail order made available online on Monday.
“…Without referring to the exact allegation made against the applicant [Imam], it may be noted that on an undisputed basis neither the applicant called any one to bear arms nor any violence was incited as a result of the speech delivered by the applicant,” Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh noted in the bail order.
The order, however, clarified that Imam’s exact statements and their effect can be examined at the time of trial which is yet to begin.
The bail was granted on the grounds that since the applicant has been in jail for more than a year in a sedition case for which he may have to spend a maximum of three year in prison in case he is convicted.
“For that reason alone, the applicant has become entitled to bail, at this stage, in the undisputed facts of the case,” the court said.
The order directs the applicant to file a personal bond of Rs 50,000 along with two sureties of the same amount, cooperate with trial and refrain from putting pressure on witnesses.
Imam will, however, remain behind bars as he is currently lodged in Tihar Jail in New Delhi in connection with Delhi riots conspiracy case, along with a number of activists, on terror charges under the controversial Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
In his speech, the JNU scholar who is seen as the architect of iconic Shaheen Bagh protest sit-in, had called for blocking “Muslim-dominated Chicken’s Neck” in Assam to cut off the North East from rest of India. It was seen as a call for secession, making police in several states file cases of sedition against Imam. He, however, later clarified that he made a call for chakka Jam, blocking roads, as a protest.
Even as he was in jail at the time of anti-Muslim riots in Delhi, the police named him in the case alleging that he conspired with other activists to provoke protestors to violence in order to defame government of India and build pressure for rollback of the controversial law.