Delhi Court Says Sharjeel Imam's Speech At Jamia University In 2019 Was "Provocative"
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said that the speech of Sharjeel Imam at Jamia on December 13 in 2019 was “provocative” and shows that he was also a part of the mob which was instigating and provoking.
The High Court said on Tuesday in judgement against the order of the trial court order discharging him and ten others.
Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said that his speech at Jamia University which was provocative shows that he was also part of the mob which was instigating and provoking which he also admitted on January 16 in 2020 in his speech at Aligarh Muslim University.
The bench noted that during the investigation, the second supplementary chargesheet clearly mentions that the accused Sharjeel Imam had on December 13 in 2019 given a provocative speech at Jamia University.
The court said that his speech indicates that Sharjeel Imam had stated that they were distributing the pamphlets regarding the protest, and he himself talked about ‘destruction’ and also said that those who were protesting should know what they should do for the protests and should be ready to take blows of lathis.
“He can be clearly seen instigating the mob and preparing them for further action, and he said that on December 13, 2019, there were 3000 to 4000 persons gathered at the spot as they had been distributing pamphlets for the last two weeks, and thus, it can only be imagined as to how many people could gather on the day of jumma (Friday) next week,” the court noted.
It is, thus, clear that he had a common intention and that he was part of the overall intent and object of the unlawful assembly, justice Sharma held.
Advocate Talib Mustafa, counsel for Sharjeel Imam had stated that there was nothing on record to show that Sharjeel Imam was part of the alleged rioting mob on the day of the incident as there were no photographs or video or any eyewitnesses to support the case of the prosecution.
It was argued that Sharjeel Imam only campaigned in favour of peaceful protests and not violence, and he was himself a victim of violence on the day of the incident as his spectacles were broken during the course of protests.
It was also contended that he had left the place of the incident within a short period of time and was not a part of the assembly which may have turned unlawful later on as can also be inferred from his CDRs.
On the issue of speeches delivered by him, it was submitted that the speech on December 13 in 2019 was delivered at around 7:30 PM which was much later than the incident of violence and the same was a subject matter of another FIR and could not be considered in the present case.
It was further argued that the speech delivered on January 16 in 2020 at Aligarh Muslim University would only show that he campaigned in favour of chakka jaam which is not a violent means of protest.
It was stated on behalf of Asif Iqbal Tanha that there is no allegation of rioting against him levelled by any of the witnesses, and he was also not a part of the videos and photographs relied upon by the prosecution on the basis of which other seven respondents were identified by the witnesses.
The bench rejected this contention and said that during the investigation, it was revealed that Asif Iqbal Tanha had posted photographs on his Facebook account on December 13 last year, the third anniversary of the Jamia violence incident.
He had written that he was detained at PS Badarpur along with his associates and had himself admitted that they were stopped by police while they were marching to Parliament, and he had also posted a photograph showing that he was in the custody of police in a bus, the court added.
The said post, containing photographs and videos of the day of the incident, is still visible on the Facebook account of the respondent. In the photographs posted by himself, he can be seen to be a part of unlawful assembly, which he does not deny, the court held.
It was submitted on behalf of Safoora Zargar that she was not named in the FIR, nor in the charge sheet of March 30, 2020.
It was alleged that she was seen standing near the barricades, outside Jamia University and was one of the rioters.
Three-fold arguments were addressed by the senior counsel.
It was first contended that prosecution has to cross the ‘threshold of identification’ and the respondent has been allegedly identified by the witnesses from video clip number 9, but a bare perusal of that video would show that a person, whose face is covered, has been identified as Safoora Zargar.
The court rejected the contention and said that this Court has seen video clip number 9 since the contention of the learned Senior counsel was that the woman, who is seen in a muffled face as part of the mob, could not have been identified by anyone as her face is not clearly visible.
The court pointed out that the Senior counsel, however, has not stated that the said woman in the video is not a part of the violent mob.
It is admitted case of the respondent that she is a student of the university in question. A caretaker on the University campus and the other employee whose designation has been reflected as a peon, have stated in their statements under section 161 Cr.P.C. that since they see the students frequenting the canteen regularly, they were able to identify her, though she was wearing a mask and had her face covered, the court held.
Furthermore, a perusal of video clip number 9 would also show that this is not a case where no overt act can be attributed to the present respondent as the video clip clearly reveals that the woman who is in the mask, identified by the public witnesses who are employees of the concerned university to be respondent, can be seen to be at the forefront of a violent mob which is pushing and throwing the barricades including her, which by no stretch of imagination can be said to be a protest by peaceful means, the court added.
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