Sharjeel Imam claims he was assaulted, called “terrorist” in jail

JNU student and Delhi riots accused has moved court alleging that other jail inmates have been targeting him

Sharjeel ImamImage Courtesy:

Sharjeel Imam, who is in judicial custody in connection with the February 2020 Northeast Delhi riots case, has now moved court alleging that he was assaulted by convicts at Tihar Jail and called a terrorist during a search inside his cell.

An application was moved before a link judge of Karkardooma Court in New Delhi by Sharjeel Imam’s lawyer Ibrahim to issue a show case notice to jail authorities for the “illegal assault and search committed upon the applicant” and to direct authorities to take immediate steps to protect him from any “further assault/ harassment”, reported the Indian Express.

In his application, Imam has reportedly claimed that the Assistant Superintendent along with “8-9 convicts came to the cell of the applicant in the name of carrying out a search” and during this “illegal search, the petitioner’s books and clothes were thrown away and he was assaulted and called terrorist and anti-national when he prevented them from throwing stuff.”

According to the Indian Express, Imam even “requested the AS to prevent them from doing the assault as the AS was present there during the entire episode, but to no avail… he was further assaulted by the convicts.” He further alleged that “no contraband was recovered.” Instead, the convicts suggested to “place some contraband to put him in trouble.”

The application also sought directions to jail authorities to preserve the CCTV footage of the jail from 7:15 P.M to 8.30 P.M on June 30, when the said incident took place.

Ibrahim told the Indian Express, “I moved the application to secure his safety. This is the first case of an assault that was disclosed by a riot accused. Search operations are regularly carried out inside his cell and they have never found contraband. This time, jail staff came with convicts which is illegal. Only jail staff can check the cells.”

Here is a copy of the application shared by Sharjeel’s brother Muzzammil Imam on Twitter: 

Brief Background

On May 26, 2022, the Delhi High Court asked Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Sharjeel Imam to approach the trial court in order to seek interim bail in connection with FIR 22/2020 pertaining to the sedition case registered against him for his allegedly provocative speeches against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Sharjeel Imam was arrested by the Delhi police on January 28, 2020 from his home village in Bihar, after the police in five states, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur reportedly filed cases under sedition and terrorism in seven First Information Report (FIRs) against him. He is currently lodged in Tihar, New Delhi.

In 2021, Sharjeel Imam had filed an application for a regular bail plea in connection with FIR No. 242/2019 which has alleged that he delivered provocative speeches in 2019 which led to Delhi Riots at various places observing that the tone and tenor of the incendiary speech tend to have a debilitating effect upon public tranquillity, peace and harmony of the society.

FIR 242/2019 was registered under Section 143/147/148/149/186/353/332/333/307/308/435/427/323/341/120B/34 IPC, u/s 3/4 Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act & u/s 25/27 Arms Act.

This bail was dismissed by Additional Sessions Judge Anuj Agrawal on October 22, 2021, even though the Court had reportedly observed that the evidence against Imam was “scanty and sketchy” to take a prima facie view that his speeches incited riots. It denied him bail noting that further examination was needed to ascertain if the speech amounted to the offence of sedition under Section 124A IPC and promotion of communal disharmony under Section 153A IPC, reported LiveLaw.

Interestingly, on November 27, 2021, the Allahabad High Court granted bail to Sharjeel Imam in connection with FIR No. 50/2020 (a sedition case registered against him in Aligarh) for allegedly delivering an ‘anti-national speech’ at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) during Anti CAA-NRC protests.

FIR 50/2020 was registered under Sections 124A, 153A, 153B and 505(2) I.P.C

While granting him bail, the Bench of Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh noted, “Neither he called anyone to bear arms nor any violence was incited as a result of the speech delivered by him.”

The same year, Imam had also filed a bail application in connection with FIR No. 22/2020 (with respect to the speeches made by him in Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia area in Delhi) before the Delhi Court. FIR 22/2020 was registered by the Delhi Police under sec. 124A, 153A, 505 of the Indian Penal Code along with sec. 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), which was added later. However, the said regular bail plea was dismissed by Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat on January 24, 2022.

On April 28, 2022, Sharjeel Imam moved the Delhi High Court challenging a trial court order which had dismissed the bail plea in connection with FIR No. 59/2020 (a case alleging larger conspiracy into the Delhi riots of 2020) involving charges under Indian Penal Code and UAPA. However, on May 6, a division bench comprising Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar further adjourned hearings listing the matter to be heard on May 26. The Bench had adjourned the matter on the grounds that it would be appropriate to await the outcome of the Supreme Court regarding the challenge to the constitutional validity of the offence of ‘Sedition’ under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code before continuing with the present appeals.

During this hearing, the Court had decided to hear another challenge made by Imam seeking bail in connection with FIR 22/2020, a case relating to the alleged inflammatory speeches made by him at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Jamia area in Delhi against the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA).

During the course of the hearing, Advocate Tanveer Ahmed Mir appearing for Sharjeel Imam, relied on an order passed by the Allahabad HC granting bail in a case concerning one of the speeches forming part of the FIR in question. Accordingly, Justice Mridul reportedly said, “If you’re saying that order passed by Allahabad HC granting you bail, if you’re pressing that, and you say it covers the present appeal, then you have to show us how and what were the allegations in the FIR?”

On May 26, after directing Imam to approach the lower court to seek interim bail in connection with the sedition case registered under FIR no. 22/2020, the Court listed the pending appeals challenging the order denying Imam bail as well as framing charges against him in the matter on August 26, reported LiveLaw.

There are three more FIRs registered against Imam:






121(A), 124(A), 153(A), 153(B) IPC and S.13(1), 15(a)(iii), 18 UAPA



121, 121(A), 124(A), 120B, 153(A) IPC

Arunachal Pradesh


124A, 153A, 153B IPC


Delhi HC asks Sharjeel Imam to approach Trial Court to seek interim bail in seditious speeches case
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