Delhi Police on Tuesday arrested Sharjeel Imam, a Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student booked in a sedition case, from Bihar's Jehanabad. The PhD student has been booked in sedition cases lodged in five states for alleged "inflammatory" speeches made during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
"We have arrested Sharjeel Imam from Jehanabad," said Rajesh Deo, deputy commissioner of police, Crime Branch. The force had deployed five teams to locate Imam, a resident of Bihar. Earlier on Tuesday, Imam's brother was arrested by the police.
On Monday, search operations were conducted in Mumbai, Patna, and Delhi for Imam, who was absconding after clips of him saying that the whole of the North East should be "cut off" from the rest of India went viral.
JNU Student Sharjeel Imam has been arrested from Jahanabad,Bihar by Delhi Police. Imam had been booked for sedition by Police. More details awaited. pic.twitter.com/7zFmWFbWIf
— ANI (@ANI) January 28, 2020
News18 quoted Imam as saying that Assam should be cut off from the rest of India "and taught a lesson, because Bengalis, both Hindus and Muslims, are being killed or put into detention centres". He also reportedly said that if he can organise five lakh people, it would become possible to "permanently cut off Assam from the rest of India... if not permanently, then at least for a few months".
Imam has been booked under Sections 124 A (an offence by words, either spoken or written causes disaffection against Government established by law), 153 A (promoting enmity between different religious groups with an intent to create disharmony) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) has been registered, Delhi Police was quoted as saying.
Police claimed that Imam delivered "divisive" speeches at Jamia Millia Islamia university in December and at Uttar Pradesh's Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in January. Both universities have been at the centre of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act since the contentious law was passed by Parliament in December.
Imam was also reportedly one of the organisers of the Shaheen Bagh protest against the CAA in Delhi, however, protesters at Shaheen Bagh on 25 January distanced the movement from his comments, stating that "no single person can be called the organiser".
Soon after the arrest on Tuesday, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said that no one could be allowed to talk about the "country's disintegration". "Protests are one thing, but nobody can talk about the country's disintegration," he said.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jan 28, 2020 16:08:40 IST