Bidar sedition row: School head, student’s mother granted bail

The bail condition states that they shall not directly or indirectly induce threat to anyone acquainted with the facts to dissuade him/her to reveal the details or tamper with the evidence

Bidar police enquiring 4th standard children of Shaheen School at Bidar in Karnataka for enacting anti-CAA play | Twitter

The Bidar district court on Friday (February 14) granted bail to the school principal and mother of a student arrested in a case related to anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) play that was staged in Shaheen Primary and High School on January 26.

Both will be released from jail on Saturday.

They have also been asked to execute a personal bond of ₹1 lakh each with two sureties. The bail condition states that they shall not directly or indirectly induce threat to anyone acquainted with the facts to dissuade him/her to reveal the details or tamper with the evidence.

On January 30, the police arrested Najumunissa, the playwright and mother of the students who enacted the play. Along with her they also arrested the school principal Fareeda Begum.

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The Police charged the two with sedition after the private school children participated in a play on January 26 in which they were alleged to have made derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A person named Nilesh Rakshyal filed a complaint with police stating the play was disrespectful towards the PM and could disturb peace in society. Rakshyal had alleged that the play could send a wrong message about the government and its policies and decisions.

Related news: Cops stop quizzing Bidar schoolchildren after child rights panel intervenes

While the Police registered FIR accordingly, and seized the video that went viral two days later, in reality, the school children did not utter PM’s name anywhere, as seen in the video.

The arrest of the parent left the 11-year-old in a state of shock leaving the child in the hands of neighbours. A local activist who interviewed the kid last week said, all that the kid wished was her mother’s return.

Bengaluru-based advocate BT Venkatesh appeared on behalf of the parent and the school management on Tuesday and argued that the content of the play did not amount to sedition.

It was a satirical play in which a student says if someone came asking for her documents, she would hit them with a slipper. Following this act, another student sings ‘Hum Kagaz Nahi Dikhayenge’ song.

The school management clarified that they wanted the students to engage in a meaningful discussion and hence asked them to come with their presentation on their understanding of the Act.

When Bidar Superintendent of Police DL Nagesh was questioned the on the contradictions in the FIR and video, he said, “We registered an FIR based on the complaint received. The investigations are on and the matter is in the court. If the facts do not corroborate, they will file a revised report accordingly.”

The public prosecutor had opposed to the bail application saying they might tamper with the evidence. This came despite the Karnataka Director General and Inspector General of Police (DG&IGP) Pravin Sood promising a delegation of lawyers recently that the government will not oppose the bail plea of the two arrested in the case.

Besides the state Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, BJP MP Bhagwanth Khuba and district in-charge minister Prabhu Chauhan all justified the arrest. The Police interrogated the students multiple times during the course of the investigation. Their action, making the environment very hostile and subjecting the children’ to psychological torture, had come under severe criticism

Lawyer Nayana Jyothi Jhawar and South India Cell for Human Rights Education filed a public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition in the Karnataka High Court seeking action against the police for illegal interrogation of minor students.

Related news: Bidar sedition case: MP, minister justify cops; seek to blacklist school

They alleged that the police, who interrogated about 85 children, violated Section 160 of CrPC which holds that no person under the age of 15 years shall subjected to interrogation at any place other than their place of residence.

The HC judge on Friday (February 14) declined to pass an interim order restraining the police from carrying on the interrogation of students, but issued notices to the Government and Police to give their responses by February 19.

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