JNU scholar Sharjeel Imam arrested in Bihar for making inflammatory speech

PTI

India, Politics

He faces sedition charges for a speech about cutting off the Northeast from the rest of India

JNU scholar Sharjeeel Imam

JEHANABAD: Anti-CAA activist Sharjeel Imam, who was on the run after sedition charges were slapped against him for allegedly making inflammatory statements, was arrested from Bihar's Jehanabad district on Tuesday, the state's police chief Gupteshwar Pandey said.

The JNU scholar was wanted by police of several states, including Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Delhi.

"Sharjeel Imam has been arrested from his native Kako village in Jehanabad," Bihar's director-general of police Gupteshwar Pandey said.

Earlier in the day, Sharjeel Imam’s brother was picked up by police in a fresh attempt to trace the anti-CAA activist.

Police had raided his ancestral home on Sunday as it went hunting for him but Imam eluded the dragnet.

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He is likely to be produced in a Bihar court where police will seek his remand for questioning. It is not yet clear whether he will be questioned in Bihar or taken to the national capital.

A graduate in computer science from IIT-Mumbai, Imam had shifted to Delhi to pursue research at the Centre for Historical Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

He was slapped with a sedition case after a video of his purported speech went viral on social media in which he was heard speaking about "cutting off" Assam and the Northeast from the rest of India.

"If five lakh people are organised, we can cut off the Northeast and India permanently. If not, at least for a month or half a month. Throw as much 'mawad' (variously described as pus or rubbish) on rail tracks and roads that it takes the Air Force one month to clear it.

"Cutting off Assam (from India) is our responsibility, only then they (the government) will listen to us. We know the condition of Muslims in Assam....they are being put into detention camps," he was shown in the video as saying.

Meanwhile, reacting to Imam's arrest, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said people have the right to protest but nobody can talk about the country's disintegration.

Kumar told reporters that police must have acted in accordance with law in arresting Imam and now the courts will take appropriate action.

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