By Muslim Mirror Network
Defending his discharge in a 2019 Jamia Nagar violence case, JNU student Sharjeel Imam Thursday told the Delhi High Court he only campaigned in favour of peaceful protest and ‘chakka jam’ cannot be termed a “violent method of protest”.
Imam’s stand came in his written submissions filed in response to the Delhi Police’s plea challenging the trial court order of February 4 discharging him and several others, including student activists Asif Iqbal Tanha and Safoora Zargar, in the matter.
The case concerns the violence that erupted after a clash between police and people protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the Jamia Nagar area here in December 2019.
Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma listed the case for hearing on March 23 after the investigating agency sought time on account of the ill health of one of its lawyers.
The court asked the respondents to file their written submissions in the meantime.
It also directed that the electronic evidence, including videos, be placed on record.
The police plea said the trial court got swayed by “emotional and sentimental feelings” and cast aspersions on the prosecuting agency. It passed “gravely prejudicial” and “adverse” remarks against the prosecuting agency and the investigation, the revision petition says.
The police said at the stage of consideration of an application for discharge, the trial court has to proceed with an assumption that the materials brought on record by the prosecution are true and not go deep into the matter as if to decide the issue of conviction.
Noting that the accused were merely present at the protest site and there was no incriminating evidence against them, the trial court had said dissent is an extension of the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression, subject to reasonable restrictions.
While discharging the 11 accused, the trial court had ordered framing of charges against one of them- Mohammad Ilyas.
The Jamia Nagar police station had filed charge sheet under several provisions of the Indian Penal Code against Imam, Tanha, Zargar, Mohammad Qasim, Mahmood Anwar, Shahzar Raza Khan, Mohammad Abuzar, Mohammad Shoaib, Umair Ahmad, Bilal Nadeem, Chanda Yadav and Mohammad Ilyas.
And the fact that violence occurred during the peaceful protest at Jamia which resulted in Sharjeel Imam breaking his glasses is not indicative of the fact that the he participated in the said violence, he has submitted.
Imam also asserted that his CDR clearly established that he had already left the place of occurrence before the assembly turned unlawful and the allegedly provocative speech was delivered much after the alleged rioting and is subject matter of another case.
“(Imam) only campaigned in favour of a means of peaceful protest, not violence. The act of shouting slogans in favour of a particular means of peaceful protest in no way portrays the participation of the Answering Respondent in the violence that ensued during the protest,” he said.
The alleged disclosure statement by Imam, the document said, was not recorded by the investigating agency in the present case and even otherwise it has got no evidentiary value. ( With PTI inputs)