Patna: Delhi Police Crime Branch on Tuesday arrested JNU student and activist Sharjeel Imam, booked in a sedition case, from Bihar's Jehanabad.
The PhD student at the Jawaharlal Nehru University's Centre for Historical Studies, who came into the limelight during the ongoing protest in Shaheen Bagh against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), has a number cases of sedition filed against him in several states — Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Delhi — over his "inflammatory" speeches made during protests.
"We have arrested Sharjeel Imam from Jehanabad," said Crime Branch Deputy Commissioner of Police Rajesh Deo.
However, Imam on Twitter said he "surrendered" before the Delhi Police at 3 pm on Tuesday.
"I am ready and willing to operate with the investigation. I have full faith in due process of law. My safety and security are now in the hand of Delhi Police," he said.
The police had deployed five teams to locate Imam, a resident of Bihar, with raids conducted in Mumbai, Patna and Delhi.
A brother of Imam was picked up by the police on Tuesday in a fresh attempt to trace the anti-CAA activist. The police had also raided his ancestral home on Sunday as it went hunting for him, but Imam eluded the dragnet.
Imam is likely to be produced before a Bihar court where the 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.
Reacting to the arrest, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said, "If someone does something wrong, action will be taken. No one should go against the law. Whatever he said, what action will be taken is for the police and the court to decide."
The police said that Imam had delivered "very inflammatory and instigatory speeches in his opposition to CAA and NRC".
"He had previously delivered one such speech in Jamia Millia Islamia on December 13 last year and, thereafter, another even more inflammatory one against the government, which is being widely circulated on social media," they said.
In an audio clip, Imam was heard saying that Assam should be cut off from the rest of India and taught a lesson as Bengalis — both Hindus and Muslims — are being killed or put into detention centres.
Imam reportedly said that if he can organise five lakh people, it would become possible to "permanently cut off Assam from the rest of India...if not permanently, then at least for a few months".
A case against Imam under IPC sections 124 A (an offence by words, either spoken or written causes disaffection against Government established by law), 153 A (promoting enmity between different religious groups with an intent to create disharmony) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) has been registered, the Delhi police said.
On Monday, the JNU chief proctor had summoned the research scholar to appear before him and explain his position over the alleged provocative speeches. Imam has been asked to appear before the Proctorial Committee by February 3.