A court in Delhi on Wednesday sent arrested Jawaharlal Nehru University student Sharjeel Imam to five days’ police custody, PTI reported, citing his lawyer. Imam was arrested from Bihar on Tuesday after five states – Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Delhi – filed sedition cases against him for allegedly making incendiary remarks.
A PhD scholar, Imam is under fire for remarks he allegedly made at Aligarh Muslim University on January 16. In a clip on social media, Imam was purportedly heard telling protestors to “cut off Assam from India” by occupying the “Muslim-dominated Chicken’s Neck”. The comment was widely perceived as a secessionist one, but Imam later claimed that he had called for peaceful protests to “block roads going to Assam” – “basically a call for chakka jam”.
The Siliguri Corridor in West Bengal, also known as Chicken’s Neck, connects the North East to the rest of India.
The JNU student was presented before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Purushottam Pathak on Wednesday evening amid heavy security, said Imam’s lawyer Mishika Singh. The police had asked for Imam’s custody for six days. He was escorted back to Delhi earlier in the day.
The situation was tense around the Patiala House Courts Complex after the police said that Imam would be produced before the magistrate there. A few lawyers shouted slogans, held posters and accused the JNU student of being a “traitor”. They also reportedly demanded that he be hanged.
While Imam claimed that he had surrendered to the Delhi Police on Tuesday, officials refuted his claim. A joint team of Delhi, Aligarh and Bihar Police had raided Imam’s ancestral house on Sunday night.
On Tuesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said Imam’s alleged remarks about cutting off Assam from the rest of India were “more dangerous” than former JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar’s slogans.