NEW DELHI – On Tuesday, an Indian university student involved in the organisation of protests against the citizenship law was arrested by the police.
Sharjeel Imam made comments which were believed to be seditious by the ruling Hindu nationalist party. He shot to national prominence after organising a mass sit-in in the country’s capital. This was one of the many rallies against the new citizenship law which many protesters believe is discriminatory against Muslims.
The 31-year-old student of history angered the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with what they called a seditious call for Assam to be “cut” from the rest of India.
Last week, Imam’s comment was described by a BJP spokesman as an “open jihad” call and the party tried to label him as a rebel in national media ahead of the New Delhi state elections on February 8th.
Imam, a Muslim, said that he only called for a disruption of rail and road links to Assam for the ongoing protest campaigns against the citizenship law.
He claimed that the BJP tried to discredit the protest movement ahead of the election and hence chose to vilify him.
The new citizenship law is aimed towards fast-tracking Indian citizenship for minorities, those who are not Muslims, from three neighbouring countries. Indians claim that this law violated the secular nature of the constitution and seems discriminatory against Muslims.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field.