Cops continue grilling students on anti-CAA play; parents, school cry foul
It is a gruelling exercise that no school student would want to go through. In the past few days, the students of Shaheen school in Karnataka’s Bidar district have put through a traumatic and gruelling police interrogation at least five times.
The trouble started ever since the students staged an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register for Citizens (NRC) play in the school on January 21. The students have also been slapped with a sedition case on January 26.
On Tuesday (February 4) Tauseef Madikeri, the school’s CEO said, “Police have invoked sections 124(A), 505 and 504 IPC against the institution, over the anti-CAA play. It is beyond anyone’s imagination.”
The police sought to know who wrote the script and whether they were forced to say the dialogues. The school headmistress and the parent of a student, who had allegedly delivered the controversial dialogue, have been arrested. The line which ‘instigated beating people who asked for documents with slippers’ is what apparently irked the authorities.
“This line was a generic one and was not intended to target anyone,” Madikeri had said.
As reported by NDTV, the headmistress was arrested for giving permission for the play and the mother of the student was arrested for teaching the child to introduce words which were not in the script.
The police made the arrests based on a complaint filed by Nilesh Rakshala, an activist of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Earlier, Madikeri said the play was about the concerns of the Muslim community.
Condemning the arrests and the police questioning, several parents in Bengaluru in an open letter wrote, “In blatant violation of the Juvenile Justice Act (2015), the New Town station police have repeatedly interrogated the schoolchildren, some as young as 9, without allowing their parents to be present, for hours at a stretch,” a group of parents in Bengaluru have written in an open letter alleging “illegal and inhumane actions of the Bidar police.”
Sources said the deputy superintendent of police (DySP) reached the school by 1 pm and the questioning would continue for three to four hours. Sources said the students were out of the class all the while and it was an emotional and physical drain on them.
In December 2019, a school in Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada district, owned by RSS leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat was criticised after students staged a play on the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
However, a case was registered against Bhat,under sections 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings) and 298 (Uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person) of the Indian Penal Code. A sedition case (rightly) was not registered.as well.
(With inputs from agencies)