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The Troubling Content Of Sharjeel Imam’s Speech In Aligarh

Sharjeel Imam

JNU student and journalist with several online left leaning portals Sharjeel Imam was finally arrested by a joint team of police forces of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in Jehanabad, Bihar. While he was arrested based on a FIR against his remarks related to the Chicken’s Neck, a perusal of the overall speech reveals several other troublesome claims and assertions. His takes on the 6 January violence in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), about the Indian state, about stalwarts of the Independence struggle and the ‘Indian nationalism project’ are certainly worthy of attention, as they reflect the sophistication of the very Islamist mindset that caused untold havoc within India, leading to its partition. Even a patient hearing on the Chicken’s Neck comment, which we highlighted earlier, are clear indicators of the pan-Islamist thought that he clearly subscribes to.

Controversial Statements On Freedom Fighters And Cow Protection

Mr. Imam engaged in slandering our freedom fighters. He called Mahatma Gandhi as the biggest fascist of the twentieth century because he introduced cow protection and the concept of Ram Rajya. Declaring Congress to be a Hindu party, he called Gandhi responsible for creating Extremist Nationalism, whose foundation was laid in 1890 (a possible reference to the trio of Lal-Bal-Pal) but developed under Gandhi’s leadership.

What was even more problematic was his stance on cow protection. Calling the Khilafat Movement’s support to cow protection a wrong step, he quoted extremist Islamic scholars to justify why Muslims have a right to eat beef and stated that the ‘compromise’ of the Muslim leadership of the time on the issue of cow protection “has become poison for us. Muslims can get bored of other food items, but never with beef,” he told the crowd.

Islamist Ideology, Perceived Discrimination And Problems With ‘Idolatrous Nationalism’

In his speech, Mr. Imam openly says that other non-Muslim supporting us on our issues should help us on ‘our terms and conditions’, and should not shy away from being labelled communal even if extremist Islamists engage in spreading their propaganda. Muslims, in his words, should stop being used by non-Muslims, which has been going on for the past seven decades.

Mr. Imam further expressed strong reservations against the concept of the Indian state in various ways. In his words, they are being forced to worship the Indian state, which is strictly prohibited. In his words, “We are being forced to worship that idol repeatedly which should not even be in that shape. This is being forced upon us. Our responsibility rather is to break this polity and federal structure in which we are stuck since 1947.”

Further, he states that Muslim scholars should agree on the consensus that we are frustrated with the Indian polity and its Constitution, and anyone who talks of nationalism is the enemy of Muslims.

Wild Allegations About Events At JNU And Assam

Mr. Imam had alleged that Kashmiri students, particularly Muslim students, were targeted by violent mobs in the JNU campus during the violence that took place on 6 January 2020. These allegations can not be verified by anyone. However, he says that police collaborated to bring in goons of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) to beat up students, whereas it is conclusively known that the entire cycle of violence was perpetrated by the Leftist student unions. In fact, the leftist goons had been engaging in violence for months on a stretch, as documented by us earlier.

Ironically, Mr. Imam tacitly admits to JNUSU President and leftist student union member Aishe Ghosh’s role in the violence. Mr. Imam can be clearly heard saying, “Aishe Ghosh, the President, was brave enough to stand in front and lead from the front.”

Mr. Imam also went off on a wild tangent at one point in the speech, claiming that Bengali speaking Hindus and Muslims are being slaughtered daily in Assam, and being thrown into detention camps after the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act. Both assertions are outright wrong – the activities of detention camps are related directly to Supreme Court’s orders, while there have been no reports of anti-Bengali riots taking place even though there have been anti-CAA protests there.

State Sponsored Discrimination And Islamist Assertion

As per Mr. Imam, the judiciary and executive of India were less partial in British times compared to what the Muslim community faces now. “An enemy community was thrust upon us…we never got azaadi,” to quote him. In fact, he goes on to label both the executive and judiciary as the enemies of Muslims.

He further alleges discrimination by the Indian state since 1951, citing such instances as the Enemy Property Act, deportation of the enemies of the state, and indulges in rabble rousing about fake instances such as the false claims of purported ethnic cleansing of Muslims from Jammu in 1947. Further, he alleged that Police Armed Constabularies were formed in places like Western Uttar Pradesh to support state sponsored massacres of Muslims.

Mr. Imam also clearly stated that the sensitivities of the Hindu community should not be entertained in any manner. Quoting an incident at Jamia Millia Islamia, he asks about praying on the road, “It’s a Muslim university, can’t we do what we want to? Praying is part of our routine and discipline, we will do it wherever we want to.”

The Chicken Neck Comment That Has Caused Trouble

Mr. Imam says that having five lakh people organized at ‘our disposal’, can help to cut off North East from India permanently. Further, this organized force can create so much damage that it takes at least one month to clear up the mess. To help Assam, says Mr. Imam, we have to close the route for the Army and cut off all the supplies, and this can be done only because the Chicken’s Neck belongs to Muslims, labelling such action as ‘productive use of the anger of the Muslim community’. We had pointed this out in an earlier report as well.

The challenge of the Chicken’s Neck is something well known to those following the illegal immigration issue in Assam. This has been part of the overall strategy, as per former Governor of Assam Lt. Gen. S K Sinha, to isolate Assam from the rest of the country as part of the Greater Bangladesh project. In his 1998 report to the President of India, he had alluded to comments of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Sheikh Mujibur Rehman on the inclusion of Assam into the Eastern Pakistan and subsequently Bangladesh state. Bangladeshi state intellectuals have always maintained the concept of lebensraum to justify the merger of Assam. Lt. Gen. Sinha has always maintained that on the Chicken’s Neck area was on the radar of such forces. Quoting from his 1998 report:

There is a tendency to view illegal migration into Assam as a regional matter, affecting only the people of Assam. Its more dangerous dimension of greatly undermining our national security, is ignored. The long-cherished design of Greater East Pakistan/Bangladesh, making inroads into the strategic land link of Assam with the rest of the country, can lead to severing the entire land mass of the North East, with all its rich resources, from the rest of the country. This will have disastrous strategic and economic consequences.

That he has been finally arrested is a relief for any sensible thinking Indian. Mr. Imam’s language is not that of a person who is looking to coexist with others but is that of someone who wants to ensure a confrontation. This is what should worry us a lot. His views cannot be considered anything less than inflammatory and splittist, and one hopes that Mr. Imam is subject to the strictest punishment under law by the concerned judicial authorities.