Police in Bihar’s Jehanabad on Tuesday detained the brother of Sharjeel Imam, a student of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) booked for sedition after his alleged “inflammatory and instigating” speech.
Delhi Police have booked Imam, one of the organisers of the anti-citizenship act protests in the city’s Shaheen Bagh, for his alleged remarks threatening to “cut-off” Assam from the rest of India. Cases have also been registered against him in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
If convicted under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) he could be imprisoned for life.
Before this, he had been booked on similar charges by Aligarh Police in Uttar Pradesh for a speech he delivered on the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) campus.
Police picked up his brother Muzzamil Imam, a political worker associated with the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in Jehanabad, for questioning, officials said.
Muzzamil’s detention came a day after a police team from Delhi and Bihar had raided several places from Jehanabad to Patna in search of anti-citizenship act activist Sharjeel Imam on Monday.
The police after searching different locations at Jehanabad and his native village at Kako, raided some places in Patna including Sabzibagh area, after getting information that he was hiding in the state capital.
Officials had said that Sharjeel Imam’s last mobile location was found to be in Patna on Saturday and later some people spotted him in Jehanabad as well.
Jehanabad’s superintendent of police Manish Kumar said police raided on Imam’s ancestral house under the Kako police station area on Sunday night after “help was sought by central agencies”.
Imam, the son of former Janata Dal(United) leader late Akbar Imam, could not be found but two of his relatives and their driver were detained for interrogation and let off thereafter, the SP said and added that his family has been advised to ask him to surrender.
His mother, Agsan Rahim, had alleged on Saturday that the media had distorted his statements and the police were “unnecessarily harassing the family.”
“My son is innocent. I do not know about his whereabouts but can swear by God that he is innocent. He is a bright young man. But I can guarantee that upon learning about the cases, he will appear before the investigating agencies and fully cooperate in the probe,” she said.
She said it has been a long time since she met her son though she had a telephonic conversation with him a few weeks ago.
“He was obviously disturbed by the CAA and fears over the National Register of Citizens (NRC) being implemented across the country which, he said, would affect not just Muslims but all poor people,” she said.
His uncle Arshad Imam said the entire village and community respect the judiciary and Constitution. He, however, rued that fact that the statements have been distorted to suit the political needs.
“A 40-second video of the 40-minute speech is being presented. It is being exaggerated. Every Indian has the right to protest,” said Imam, who was also interrogated by the police.
Sharjeel Imam is a graduate in computer science from IIT-Mumbai
“After remaining in the teaching profession for some time, he joined a software company. He resigned from the service and joined JNU in 2017 do PhD in modern history,” a villager, who did not want to be named, said.
“Sharjeel is the eldest of two brothers and his father contested the October 2005 assembly polls on JD(U) ticket. He passed away five years ago,” the villager said.
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