A Delhi court on Saturday denied interim bail to activist Sharjeel Imam for allegedly delivering inflammatory speeches at Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Milia Islamia University in 2019 and 2020, Live Law reported.

Imam was booked on sedition charges after the police accused him of making inflammatory statements during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens.

The former Jawaharlal Nehru University student had sought interim bail on the grounds that the Supreme Court had put the sedition law in abeyance and asked the Union government to consider the provision. He had contended that the case against him had been significantly diluted on account of the Supreme Court judgement.

Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat on Saturday rejected the bail plea saying that there was not sufficient ground to grant him relief, PTI reported.

During the hearing, Imam’s lawyer Ahmad Ibrahim argued that the activist was not a flight risk and he was not likely to influence witnesses or tamper with evidence. He contended that due to these reasons, Imam met the conditions required for the granting of bail.

However, Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad urged the court to consider the gravity of the alleged offence while deciding on the bail plea.

The police have alleged that in his speech at Aligarh Muslim University in 2020, Imam had asked those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act to “cut off Assam from India” by occupying the “Muslim-dominated chicken’s neck”. Imam’s lawyers have argued that the statement was a way to refer to a chakka jam call that he had made in the speech.

Last year, the prosecution also claimed that Imam’s speech at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University in 2019 was divisive. “Also in past speeches, he has given a clear indication that everything is over, as Muslims you have no hope,” the prosecution added.

Imam was arrested from Bihar on January 28, 2020, and has been in custody since then. He has also been booked for in connection with the alleged “conspiracy” related to planning the communal riots that erupted in Delhi in February 2020.

On July 4, the activist alleged before the court that a Tihar Jail assistant superintendent along with eight to 10 persons had assaulted him in his cell on June 30. They also allegedly called him a terrorist and an anti-national.

On Wednesday, Tihar jail authorities submitted close circuit television footage of the cell from June 30. However, the footage could not be played because of the lack of technical support.

The footage was to be played during a hearing on Saturday.