Sharjeel Imam is a Computer Science graduate from IIT Bombay and a PhD student at the Department of History and Culture in Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. He has been charged with sedition cases in five different states and is alleged to have instigated the December 15 Jamia Milia Anti-CAA violence.
Sharjeel Imam was born in Kako, Jehanabad, and raised in the districts of Patna & Jehanabad in Bihar in 1988 (age 32 years; as in 2020). After attending St. Xavier’s High School in Patna, he moved to Delhi where he completed his intermediate course of education from Delhi Public School, Vasant Kunj, in 2006. Imam has always been brilliant at studies; he was successful in cracking JEE entrance exam on his first attempt, hence, procuring a spot for himself in IIT Bombay, where he majored B Tech-M Tech Integrated Programme in Computer Science.
During his college days at IIT Bombay, Imam worked as a freelance programmer for a period of two months for the IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark. In the final year of his graduation, he was also awarded a chance to work as a Teaching Assistant at IIT Bombay. After completing his graduation in July 2011, Imam was hired as a software engineer in an American MNC “Juniper Networks,” where he worked for two years, before leaving the job in February 2013. The period of seven years, which Imam spent at IIT Bombay and the corporate sector, made him presume that propaganda and prejudice against the Muslim community was widely spread and practised, which was taken as truth by the ill-informed, and partly because of the minuscule presence of Muslims in the upper echelons(referring to IIT and Corporate sector), there was nobody to confute them. With this preconceived ideology, Imam decided to quit his job, and further continue his studies at JNU, which he considered a hub of secularism. In 2013, he got himself enrolled at JNU for MA in Modern History. In his prolonged student life in JNU, he completed MPhil in Modern Indian History in 2017. After MPhil, he started pursuing a PhD in Modern Indian History. After entering JNU, Imam was immediately attracted towards the Leftist student parties of the university. He joined the largest left party ‘All India Students’ Association’ (AISA) in 2013, and also contested as their candidate for the post of councillor, and eventually, left the party shortly after the incident of Najeeb Ahmad’s disappearance in 2015.
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Family & Caste
Family background (Religion & Caste)
Sharjeel Imam’s father, Syed Akbar Imam was a local politician and a close aide of Nitish Kumar (Politician). His father had even contested for the 2005 Bihar Assembly Elections on a ticket of the JDU party, which he lost by 447 votes to S N Yadav (RJD). Sharjeel’s father later died of bone cancer in 2014. His mother. His mother Afshan Rahim is a homemaker.
He has a younger brother, Muzzammil Imam, is a local politician and a social activist, who has studied Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication at Amity University. Sharjeel & Muzzammil are said to be closely linked to Jehanabad politicians, including the former Jahanabad MP Arun Kumar.
Shaheen Bagh Protests & The ‘Chakka Jam’
In the wake of the introduction of CAB in India, protests started to strengthen in Delhi against the bill. Sharjeel resorted to organizing road blockades at different places on the pretext of ‘Chakka Jam’ as a part of the protests. Afreen Fatima, one of Sharjeel’s friends at JNU, said during a speech at JNU-
Since day 1, Sharjeel has talked about how our protests can get the attention of the government and the civil society.
The government doesn’t care about us, especially Muslims, so his call to ‘Chakka Jam’ (roadblocks) was merely an attempt to make the government listen to us, and his conception behind the Shaheen Bagh protests was stemmed from the same idea.”
After organising several Anti-CAA protests and participating at the Shaheen Bagh protests, soon he became a poster boy of the Anti-CAA protests in Delhi. Sharjeel was reportedly among the Anti-CAA protesters on the evening of December 15, when all of a sudden, protests at the Jamia Milia University took a violent turn and the crowd went berserk and started pelting stones at the Delhi Police, several vehicles were torched, public and private properties were vandalized in the violence. Sharjeel’s name came up in the charge sheet filed by the Delhi Police as one the chief instigators, who had fueled the violence on December 15. According to the Delhi police, Sharjeel had persuaded people through his inflammatory speeches against the government to join and spread his ‘Chakka Jam’ movement until some justice was served to them.
Sharjeel’s name has appeared for delivering inflammatory speeches on a regular basis at different locations in Delhi and the other states across India. Sharjeel absconded on January 25, after a video clip from his alleged contentious speech at the Aligarh Muslim University went viral. Wherein, he could be heard saying,
Assam aur India katke alag ho jaaye, tabhi ye humari baat sunenge (when India and Assam will cut off from each other only then they will listen to us).”
He further elucidated in the video that by blocking the chicken’s neck (Siliguri corridor); Northeastern states including Assam could be isolated from the rest of the country.
After his video went viral on social media, several FIRs were registered against him in Delhi and four other states – Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh. He was arrested from the locality of his ancestral home in Kako, Jehanabad on 28th January 2020 in a joint operation by the Delhi Police and the Bihar Police.
However, Sharjeel, through his Twitter handle claimed that he had surrendered before the police.
I have surrendered to the Delhi Police on 28 1 2020 at 3 PM. I am ready and willing to 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.
Let peace prevail. pic.twitter.com/fTKeWY5hb8
— Sharjeel Imam (@_imaams) January 28, 2020
Sharjeel has been booked with the charges of treason & spreading enmity among different communities, under the Indian Penal Code sections 124 A (sedition), 153 A (promoting or attempting to promote disharmony or feelings of enmity on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever), and 505 (intent to incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offence against any other class or community).
- Sharjeel’s teachers remember him as an intelligent & ingenious student.
I don’t know anyone who has such a stronghold over Indian history. He could talk about Eqbal Ahmad and Allama Iqbal at length,” says Afreen Fatima, one of his JNU friends.
- Sharjeel has always had a keen interest in Islamic theories.
- In one of his articles on “Firstpost” (an Indian news and media website), Sharjeel Imam claimed that he was the sole Muslim student among 200 students in his class at IIT Bombay. Firstpost
- Sharjeel has been studying at JNU since 2013.
- Reportedly, Sherjeel has often been criticized by a faction of society for writing inflammatory articles in various magazines and online media portals including “The Wire” and “Firstpost.”
- Sharjeel has articulated in one of his articles about the prejudice experiences he had faced during his IIT days. First Post
- Sharjeel Imam’s name was mentioned in the charge sheet filed by the Delhi police, after an accused in the December 15 violence had claimed that he was incited by Imam’s speeches.
- On July 21, 2020, Shrajeel Imam lodged in Guwahati jail was tested positive for COVID-19.