'Roped in as Scapegoats': Sharjeel, Safoora Discharged in Jamia Violence Case

Investigating agencies must "discern the difference between dissent and insurrection," the court said.

2 min read
Hindi Female

“…this Court cannot but arrive at the conclusion that the police were unable to apprehend the actual perpetrators behind commission of the offence, but surely managed to rope the persons herein as scapegoats.”

These were the words of a Delhi Court in their order discharging Sharjeel Imam, Safoora Zargar, Asif Iqbal Tanha and eight others in the the Jamia Violence case from 2019. 

What else did the court say? Arul Verma, Special Judge (NDPS), South-East District, Saket Court, in his order, further noted that the police had, from the crowd of protesters, “arbitrarily chosen” to array some people as accused and others as police witnesses.

The judge also said: 

“The desideratum is for the investigative agencies to discern the difference between dissent and insurrection. The latter has to be quelled indisputably. However, the former has to be given space, a forum, for dissent is perhaps reflective of something which pricks a citizen's conscience.”

The order also refers to Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud's emphatic defence of dissent as 'safety valve of the democracy'.

The court further pointed that the prosecution has ex facie been launched in a  “perfunctory and cavalier fashion”, despite the fact that mere presence at a protest site doesn’t automatically implicate someone as an accused.


What was the case? The case (State vs Mohd Ilyas @ Allen) pertained to instances of violence that had occurred at Jamia Milia University in December 2019.

What did Sharjeel Imam's lawyer say? One of the accused in the case, Imam was represented in this case by Advocates Talib Mustafa and Ahmad Ibrahim

Speaking to The Quint, Ibrahim said:

“The order has been pronounced right now. This case pertained to an incident of violence, during which Sharjeel was not even present. He was implicated only on the basis of CDR location and statement of co accused. The court understood this and rightly discharged him today.”

However...Imam, continues to remain incarcerated as a UAPA accused in connection with the Delhi Riots 'Larger Conspiracy' Case. The Delhi High is presently hearing is bail plea in that matter.

On 28 January this year, Sharjeel Imam completed three years as an incarcerated under-trial.

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Topics:  Sharjeel Imam 

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