Sharjeel Imam’s arrest by Delhi Police comes hours after his younger brother, Muzzamil Imam, was picked up for questioning.
Sharjeel Imam, a student of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) was arrested on Tuesday afternoon from his village in Bihar’s Jehanabad by a team of Delhi Police, one of the many that had been searching for the IIT-Mumbai alumnus in Delhi, Mumbai and Patna.
Sharjeel Imam was wanted by the police in national capital Delhi on a charge of sedition for his speech last week where he was heard calling for cutting off Assam from the rest of India by blocking the chicken’s neck – the part which connects West Bengal with northeastern states of the country.
That speech led to registration of cases against him by police departments in at least five states including Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and heated politics ahead of the February 8 elections in Delhi where the Bharatiya Janata Party is trying to prevent Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party from returning to power.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Rajesh Deo confirmed Sharjeel Imam’s arrest from Bihar.
Deo told HT that five of their teams had been conducting raids in Patna, Mumbai and Delhi to arrest him but refused to detail the circumstances of his arrest.
A joint team of Delhi Police and Bihar police had carried out searches at Imam’s native village under Kako police station area earlier in the day also. When they could not find him, the police team picked up his younger brother, Muzzamil Imam. Two of his other relatives and driver had been detained on Monday and later let off.
Imam, a resident of Kako in Bihar, is pursuing a doctorate degree from the Centre for Historical Studies in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). He was one of the lead organisers of the anti-citizenship act protests in the national capital’s Shaheen Bagh.
His father Akbar Imam contested the October 2005 Assembly polls on a ticket from Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United. Akbar Imam passed away five years ago.