IN ITS chargesheet in the sedition case filed against JNU student Sharjeel Imam, the Delhi Police has cited his M.Phil thesis on communal violence during Partition, accused him of using Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s book ‘Why I am a Hindu’ to put up a “secular” front, and said he not only “discriminates between Hindus and Muslims” but also tried to “draw a wedge between Hindu community by constantly referring to Brahminical conscience”.
Imam is accused in seven cases, including a UAPA case stemming from a Special Cell investigation into the Northeast Delhi riots. Arrested on January 28, he is currently in judicial custody. His lawyer refused to comment on the contents of the chargesheet saying they will file an application for bail in the sedition case soon.
The over 600-page chargesheet filed before Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana at Patiala House court affixes four of Imam’s anti-CAA speeches, apart from chats from a WhatsApp group called Muslim students of JNU, as evidence.
The sedition case was registered against Imam on January 25. The Delhi Police Crime Branch accused him of giving “inflammatory and instigatory speeches against the Government of India on the issue of CAA & NRC”.
“He through his speeches repeatedly incited the public to commit acts which would jeopardise public tranquillity, attempts to cause disaffection towards the lawfully elected government of the country in the garb of democratically opposing the CAA. His oration and acts are seditious in nature,” claims the chargesheet.
It adds that Imam is “a highly religious bigoted person who completely lacks faith in the Constitution of India and exhibits complete mistrust in it”. It accuses him of calling the statute “a Facist document”, adding, “He through his speeches not only discriminates between Hindus and Muslims but also tried to draw a wedge between Hindu community by constantly referring to Brahminical conscience and further labelling the Constitution as a document written by educated ‘Pandits’.”
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The chargesheet attributes some of Imam’s “bigotry” to the books he had read. Talking about Imam’s M.Phil thesis, ‘Exodus before partition: The attack on Muslims in Bihar in 1946’, police say one of the books he referred to was ‘Forms of Collective violence, Riots, Pogroms, and Genocide in Modern India’ by Paul R Brass. The chargesheet states that the book “catalogues the various forms of collective violence that has 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.”
The police state that Imam had come across similar books during his thesis, “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”.
Police also accused Imam of distributing pamphlets with claims that “crores of people would be declared illegal residents”, imprisoned and expelled under CAA. The chargesheet says Imam warned of detention centres like in Assam where people “live like animals”, and claimed this was false “as there was no detention centre in Assam”.
Calling the Shaheen Bagh protest site the “mother of all anti-CAA protests”, the chargesheet says its real character was revealed in a WhatsApp chat that it cites: “Cool. Shashi Tharoor should come and go as he wishes. Uski kitab ‘why I am a Hindu’ ka bookstall bhi laga date 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).”
“It goes to establish the mentality that goes at length to cover the communal contours of the agitation,” the chargesheet says.
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