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Mumbai Court Denies Pre-Arrest Bail To Student Booked For Sedition Over Slogans Supporting Sharjeel Imam

Nitish Kashyap
6 Feb 2020 6:38 AM GMT
Mumbai Court Denies Pre-Arrest Bail To Student Booked For Sedition Over Slogans Supporting Sharjeel Imam
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A Sessions Court in Mumbai on Wednesday rejected the anticipatory bail application filed by Urvashi Chudawala, a 22-year-old student booked under Sections 124 A (sedition), 153 B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration) and 505 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly raising slogans in support of JNU student Sharjeel Imam during a rally held for the LGBTQ community at Azad Maidan, South Mumbai on February 1.

Additional Sessions Judge Prashant Rajvaidya refused to grant Urvashi any protection from arrest and observed-
"Her statement prima facie attracts the ingredients of the charges of sedition under section 124A of Indian Penal Code, which attracts life imprisonment. The case is of serious nature, custodial interrogation is required to reach the roots of the matter."
According to the prosecution, Urvashi shouted - "Sharjeel Tere Sapno Ko Hum Manzil Tak Pahuchaenge" (Sharjeel, we will realise your dreams).
Urvashi is the main accused in the case wherein 50 others present at the said rally who allegedly raised similar slogans have been booked.
Activist Sharjeel Imam, a PhD student from JNU who did his Masters from IIT Mumbai, was arrested by Delhi police over his alleged inflammatory speeches during protests against CAA-NRC. He has been booked by five separate states for sedition.
Urvashi's lawyer Vijay Hiremath argued that his client's slogan was taken out of context. He said-
"There was only one line,which was said only once, has it done any harm? It was not aimed at public servants or government machinery, it is not sedition at all, It does not create hatred towards the government, or any community.
We may not agree with her statement but that does not amount to sedition?"
Moreover, Urvashi, who is a student of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, contended that her career may potentially be destroyed due to a "two second video."
"I am being made an example as various protests are going on and they want to show they are taking it seriously. The state is not so fragile that a two-second video becomes sedition," Hiremath vehemently argued.
Chief Public Prosecutor Jaisingh Desai alleged that Chudawala had shared a post in support of Imam on social media a day before the rally, which was deleted later. Then referring to Imam's speech, Desai said-
"You are supporting a person who is officially an enemy of the state"
He further alleged that when police contacted Urvashi regarding the present case, she did not co-operate and failed to show up.
Since the police could not carry out further probe without arresting her, she was arrested, Desai contended.
After the arguments, the Court refused any relief to Urvashi observing that the charges against her were serious in nature and went on to state that her custodial interrogation was required in order to get to the root of the matter.

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