With the ongoing anti-Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens protests, activist and student Urvashi Chudawala who was booked for sedition, on Friday approached Bombay High Court seeking pre arrest bail.
Chudawala was booked by the Mumbai Police on February 4, for allegedly raising “anti-national” slogans in support of JNU student Sharjeel Imam at an LGBTQ event held at Azad Maidan last week.
Chudawala approached HC after a sessions court rejected her anticipatory bail plea on February 5.
21-year-old Chudawala’s lawyer, Vijay Hiremath, mentioned the plea before Justice S K Shinde who posted it for hearing on February 11. The student was not granted interim protection from arrest by the sessions court to enable her to approach HC.
According to Chudawala’s plea, the slogan was taken out of context to allege she wanted to create hatred against a community. The plea added that a particular section of society may not agree with the slogan but that does not amount to sedition.
According to the police, the second-year Master’s student at Tata Institute of Social Science was at the forefront in raising the slogan “Sharjeel Tere Sapno ko Hum Manzil Tak Pahuchaege” (Sharjeel, we will realise your dreams). A complaint in this regard was lodged by former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya on February 2.
Sharjeel Imam was arrested from Bihar’s Jehanabad on January 28 for allegedly making inflammatory speeches at the Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi and in Aligarh.
Sharjeel Imam, a PhD student at the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Centre for Historical Studies, was booked in sedition cases lodged by several states for alleged “inflammatory” speeches made during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
In a video of the speech, he could be heard inciting Muslims to “cut off Assam from India” by occupying the “Muslim-dominated Chicken’s Neck”. The 22-km Siliguri Corridor, or Chicken’s Neck, in West Bengal, connects the northeastern states to the rest of India.
Chudawala and around 50 others were also booked under sections 124 (A) (sedition), 153 (B) (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 505 (statement conducing to public mischief) and 34 (Common Intention) of the Indian penal code, said Pranay Ashok, Deputy Commissioner of Police.
The case was registered by the Azad Maidan police after a video purportedly of Chudawala raising the slogans went viral after the Pride Parade on February 1.