‘Victim of Violence, Not Offender’: Sharjeel Imam submits response to Delhi HC in police’s plea against discharge in 2019 Jamia Violence Case

In the written submission, Sharjeel has highlighted lack of admissible evidence against him, contended that his participation in peaceful protest cannot imply role in violence

Sharjeel Imam

In response to the Delhi Police’s petition against his discharge in the 2019 Jamia violence case, Sharjeel Imam told the Delhi High Court that he was the victim of violence and not the perpetrator. Imam has also stated that he only advocated for peaceful protest rather than violence. The arguments were made in written submissions filed on Imam’s behalf in response to Delhi Police’s petition challenging his discharge, as well as those of Safoora Zargar, Asif Iqbal Tanha, and eight others in the 2019 case of Jamia violence case (FIR No. 296 of 2019).

This case is one of many cases against some of these accused but is specifically connected to the incidents of violence at Jamia Milia Islamia University in December, 2019. The FIR alleged offences of “rioting and unlawful assembly” under sections 143, 147, 148, 149, 186, 353, 332, 333, 308, 427, 435, 323, 341, 120B and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) were invoked in the case.

It has been contented by Sharjeel that the fact that violence occurred during the peaceful protest at Jamia, resulting in him breaking his glasses, does not imply that he participated in the said violence. Rather, it was a reflection of the fact that he was a victim of the violence and had no active role to play in how it all culminated. Imam has also stated that shouting slogans “in favor of a particular means of peaceful protest” in no way suggests his participation in the alleged violence that occurred during the protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

“In his speech at AMU on December 16, 2019, the Answering Respondent (Sharjeel) merely stated that he campaigned in favor of chakka jam as a means of protest which by no stretch of the imagination could be called a violent method of protest,” he said, as per LiveLaw.

Imam has also claimed that there is no single admissible piece of evidence against him demonstrating that he was a member of the unlawful assembly involved in the alleged violence or rioting. Sharjeel emphasised that he is not seen in any of the videos presented by the prosecution, nor is there any statement recorded by the investigating agency in which he is even named, let alone attributed any role in the alleged violence. He has also claimed that his call data records (CDR) clearly show that he had already left the scene of the alleged incident on the date of the incident, as reported by LiveLaw.

“That the disclosure statement in question was not recorded by the investigating agency in the present case and even otherwise the same has got no evidentiary value at all and cannot be the basis to frame charges,” he has said, as per LiveLaw.

The revision petition filed by Delhi police will be heard today by Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma. Imam is represented by Advocates Talib Mustafa, Ahmad Ibrahim and Ayesha Zaidi.

Background of the case:

On February 4, student leaders Safoora Zargar, Sharjeel Imam, Asif Iqbal Tanha, and eight others, were discharged in the crucial 2019 Jamia violence case (FIR No. 296 of 2019). Additional Sessions judge, Saket Court, Arul Verma, while discharging these accused, had held that while the Delhi police were unable to apprehend the “actual criminals” they “definitely succeeded in using them (accused) as scapegoats”. The additional sessions judge had also admonished the prosecution for presenting “ill-conceived charge sheets,” noting that the police had “arbitrarily selected” some protesters to charge sheet and others (to name) as police witnesses. Sharjeel Imam was produced from judicial custody at the time of the deliverance of the order and his advocate is Talib Mustafa.

The police had first filed a charge sheet against Mohd Ilyas on April 21, 2020. A second supplementary chargesheet was then filed against 11 other accused persons, who have been also discharged in the matter. A third supplementary chargesheet was also filed recently on February 1, 2023, while the arguments on the charges were being heard.

A deeper analysis of the arguments made by the prosecution and the defense, along with the rationale behind the decision given by the court can be read here.

Days thereafter this judgment by the Delhi court was pronounced, the police had approached the High Court challenging the discharge. While issuing notice in the petition, Justice Sharma had said that the trial court’s observations against the investigating agency will neither affect further investigation nor the trial of any accused person.



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