New Delhi: The Delhi Police and the Uttar Pradesh government have opposed JNU student Sharjeel Imam’s plea before the Supreme Court to consolidate the five FIRs registered against him for allegedly delivering an “inflammatory speech” at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on 16 January.
In his plea, Imam has sought transfer of all cases to the Delhi Police for probe.
The Delhi Police and the Uttar Pradesh government had filed their affidavits before the apex court Thursday in response to Imam’s petition.
While the Delhi Police said local incidents of violence that followed Imam’s speech can only be probed by respective state authorities, the Uttar Pradesh government claimed his “planned” talk had led to a string of protests and clashes in Aligarh which cannot be probed by police in another jurisdiction.
Imam had, in an anti-NRC and anti-CAA protest held at AMU, allegedly called for Assam and the rest of the Northeast to be cut-off from India.
He has been booked under various penal provisions, including sedition and the anti-terror law, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, in five states — Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
The Supreme Court Friday gave two weeks to Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh to file their replies and asked for a rejoinder to be filed within a week thereafter.
A bench, led by Justice Ashok Bhushan, posted the matter for hearing after three weeks. The court refused to accept Imam’s lawyer, senior advocate Siddhartha Dave’s contention to stay the investigation of cases.
‘Imam instigated people to commit offence in 500 cities’
In Delhi, Imam is facing charges for his December speech at the Jamia Millia Islamia too, apart from the one he gave at AMU.
The affidavit prepared by the Delhi Police’s legal cell says that Imam not only committed crime against Delhi, but also provoked people to “commit offence outside” the capital city.
It produced a copy of Imam’s Jamia speech to claim that he had provoked citizens in as many as 500 cities, especially in places with Muslim populations.
The affidavit quotes the lines allegedly spoken by Imam at Jamia: “Our desire and our object is to make traffic jam in Delhi, but not only in Delhi, but at every city where Muslim can do it, Muslim can make traffic jam in five hundred cities of India.”
The Delhi Police also claimed that his speech at the AMU had incited people in Delhi as well as those in the Northeastern states to commit offences.
From the combined reading of his speeches, the Delhi Police said, it was clear that Imam was involved in two kinds of offences –- one against the state and another against the public, who were instigated by his words.
“The deponent respectfully submits that the offence which may have been committed in pursuance of the alleged speeches given by accused forming part of the FIRs registered by other respondents (state police) may not form part of the same transaction,” the Delhi Police said, while opposing his plea to club the investigations.
‘Imam deliberately came to Aligarh’
The Uttar Pradesh government contested Imam’s petition to consolidate the FIRs on the ground that it will prejudice the investigation pending in Aligarh.
The authorities said that his AMU speech became viral on social media, causing large scale violence and rioting in the district. Five incidents have been cited in the affidavit submitted by the Uttar Pradesh government, including an event where effigies of the prime minister and the state chief minister were burnt, to oppose Imam’s plea.
The state also said that his speech at AMU was pre-planned and accused Imam of “deliberately” coming to participate in the anti-NRC and anti-CAA protests with the aim of “spreading hate against India”.
The state government also accused Imam of concealing the “true facts” and said it would be appropriate to investigate the case in Aligarh. It has asked for the trial against him to be held at a district court in the state.