On Wednesday, as Imam was being taken to New Delhi to face trial, a scuffle broke out between members of the press and policemen in Patna, capital of the state of Bihar.
#WATCH Media personnel manhandled by police at Patna Airport, while JNU student Sharjeel Imam was being taken to Delhi on transit remand. Four media personnel, including ANI camera persons were injured in the incident. pic.twitter.com/4KsAfJvQYk— ANI (@ANI) January 29, 2020
According to news agency ANI, which also released a video of the incident, four members of the press were injured in the scuffle.
Sharjeel Imam’s anti-Indian rant, where he said he wanted to “cut off Assam from India” during protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019 (CAA) at the federally-funded Aligarh Muslim University in northern Uttar Pradesh, was widely circulated on social media. He made a similar speech at Shaheen Bagh, a venue where anti-CAA protests have been going on for over a month now.
Imam was arrested by Delhi Police’s Crime Branch with the assistance of Bihar Police.
"Sharjeel Imam (JNU student) was arrested from his village in Jehanabad (a district in Bihar) at around 2 pm on Tuesday. We are taking transit remand from Bihar and trying to bring him to Delhi on the shortest possible route," Rajesh Deo, DCP Crime Branch, Delhi Police had said.
A string of videos that had gone viral on social media purportedly showed Imam saying “If we all come together, then we can separate the Northeast from India. It is our responsibility to cut Assam from India.”
The Citizenship Amendment Act seeks to grant Indian citizenship to immigrants who have fled persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and settled in India on or before December 2014. It allows Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians, Buddhists and Jains to have Indian citizenship.
The law has been targeted by opposition parties and civil rights activists for its conspicuous exclusion of Muslims and violation of the secularist ideals of the Constitution since it grants citizenship on the basis of religion.
Prime Minister Modi, however, had clarified that no Indian Muslim has anything to worry about the law “as it seeks to grant citizenship, not snatch it”.