The role of Ultra nationalist media in terror framing Sharjeel Imam; Journalists for Freedom

Sharjeel Imam is a JNU PhD scholar from Bihar. Few days back he is charged with sedition and UAPA in four BJP ruling states; Assam, Manipur, Uttarpradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, and Delhi for a speech he made in Aligarh Muslim University on December 13. It is the students collective which Sharjeel is part of, Muslim Students of JNU that initiated campaigns and sensitisation in Shaheen Bagh and organized people in protest. In the targeted speech, Sharjeel calls for chakka jam, a method of protest by blocking the roads all over the country. He asks to exert pressure on the government by making use of this protest method. But from the speech, his reference about blockading the road to Asam is picked up by the media and been made viral in different nationalist social media groups and tv channels. Thus, Sharjeel was presented as a separatist. Before this, Republic TV had published a hidden camera operation where Sharjeel speaks about how Shaheen Bagh protest began. The hate campaign against Sharjeel was started off by Republic tv. The framing of Sharjeel Imam is an end result of Republic tv’s hate campaign.

Sharjeel repeatedly insists on his responsibility as a Muslim scholar to be resistant and sensitising the people. He questions the political betrayals Indian Muslims had been going through during British colonial rule and after the British rule, he questions Hindutva patronage of all major national parties. So, for them, him being charged with sedition and UAPA is something which is needed.

Home minister Amit Shah had said that he will eradicate Shaheen Bagh entirely. This targeting on Sharjeel Imam and Shaheen Bagh clearly indicates the state’s attitude towards the anti-CAA movement, this must be understood and addressed by the media as such.

After three days of being charged with sedition and UAPA Sharjeel surrendered at Delhi police in Bihar. But the ultranationalist media reported it as he was arrested. This is the result of anti-Muslim, racial propoganda being practiced by these Hindu Brahmin news editors, which must be questioned and condemned. By using colonial laws like UAPA and sedition, the government’s move is to destroy the anti-citizenship amendment act uprisings, protests and its decisive turns.

Charging sections like 153A for a speech he made in December at AMU Dr.Kafeel Khan too is arrested in a similar way. He could be seen to request the Maharashtra government to not to take him to Uttarpradesh in a video shot during the arrest. When the ultranationalist media telecast only the version of the state by terrorising people’s uprisings to suppress them, we the collective of journalists and media students condemn, reject and resist this hindutva patronage. Those who stand for citizenship and protection of civil rights must raise their voice for Sharjeel Imam.

Mrudula Bhavani, Najiya O, Prashaanth Subrahmanian, UM Mukthar, KA Salim, August Sebastian, SA Ajims, Faiz Babu, Renoir, Aslah Vadakara, Ijas Ul Haque, Shaheen Abdulla, Haroon, Haneen, Arundas, Shahid Ashfaque, Treasa Fernandez, Shibin Sha, Aliya Farzana, Sajil, Premlal, Unnikrishnan Nair S, Midhun pankaj,
Thomas alias k, Alfiya T.M, Harihara Sharma, Sidharth Bhattathiri, Shakir, Sreenath A, Eldos Wilson,
Ajith S Kumar, Sreejith K, Athul SR, Roshan
_ Journalists for Freedom, January 30 2020

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