A Delhi court on Saturday denied statutory bail to activist Sharjeel Imam in a sedition and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act case, reported Bar and Bench.

On January 30, the Delhi High Court asked a trial court to decide by February 17 on Imam’s statutory bail application.

Imam, a former scholar at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, was arrested on January 28, 2020. He was eligible for statutory bail as he has spent four years in jail, out of the maximum sentence of seven years in the sedition case.

If denied bail by the trial court, the High Court had said Imam could file a fresh application.

The case pertains to alleged seditious speeches made by Imam at the Jamia Millia Islamia university in 2019 and the Aligarh Muslim University in 2020 during protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.

The police have alleged that in his speech at the Aligarh Muslim University in 2020, Imam had asked those protesting against the amended citizenship law to “cut off Assam from India” by occupying the “Muslim-dominated chicken’s neck”.

The so-called chicken’s neck, or the Siliguri corridor, refers to a very narrow track of land around Siliguri city in West Bengal that connects India’s North East to the rest of the country.

Imam’s lawyers have argued that the statement was a way of calling for a chakka jam, or blockading of a road as a form of protest.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has contended that the punishment for the offences invoked against Imam should be considered cumulatively not concurrently.

The activist is also currently serving time in the Delhi riots conspiracy case.

Clashes had broken out in North East Delhi from February 23 to February 26, 2020, between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it. The violence left 53 dead and hundreds injured. Most of those killed were Muslims.

The Delhi Police has claimed that the violence was part of a larger conspiracy to defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and was hatched by those who organised the protests against the Act.