A sessions court in Aligarh has granted bail to Aligarh Muslim University student Sharjeel Usmani in connection with the violence that broke out during anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests last year, PTI reported on Thursday. Usmani was arrested by the anti-terrorism squad in July.
“The academic records of the accused manifest that he has been a bright student,” said Special Judge (SC/ST Act) in Aligarh Sessions Court Narendra Singh, according to The Indian Express. “He has written many articles which are also available on records. He is presently in jail. All other accused have been granted bail. Keeping the accused further in jail will serve no purpose. Therefore, in consideration of the undergone period in jail by the accused and his academic records, the case is fit to grant bail to the accused.”
Usmani was asked to furnish a personal bond of Rs 50,000 for the bail. He has been asked not to tamper with evidence and be present for trial as and when needed.
While the court order was issued on August 28, Usmani got bail on September 1. “The delay was because the identification process was taking time,” Ale Nabi, Usmani’s lawyer, told The Indian Express. “It was a procedural delay. The most important part is that he has been granted bail in all cases filed in Civil Lines Police Station. The trial is yet to begin.”
Usmani has been granted bail in four cases while the hearing the fifth case, filed under the Goonda Act, is due on September 7. “I will wait for the court’s order and then decide what needs to be done,” Usmani told The Indian Express. “They are thinking of robbing our citizenship, and that will leave us with nothing. So the struggle will continue.”
On the night of December 15, a group of students at the Aligarh Muslim University had organised a rally in protest against police violence at Delhi’s Jamia Millia University earlier in the day, and the Citizenship Amendment Act. The police had stormed into the campus and allegedly caned those they apprehended during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Usmani was one of those who led the protests. The police had alleged that the students had pelted stones at them and injured 19 policemen.
A fact-finding report found that law-enforcement officials had fired stun grenades “usually used in war-like situations or terror operations” at students, and raised “chilling slogans like Jai Shri Ram while attacking the students and setting ablaze their scooters and vehicles...”
The National Human Rights Commission investigation, submitted to the High Court in February, recommended that legal action must be taken against the delinquent policemen apart from compensating the injured students. On February 24, the Allahabad High Court ordered Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police Hitesh Awasthy to identify and take action against the policemen who were involved in destroying motorbikes and attacking students at Aligarh Muslim University on December 15.
In January, the Aligarh Muslim University administration had said it would file a complaint against the police for entering the a hostel at the campus without permission.