Bidar sedition case: Distraught girl yearns for mother’s return, misses her exams

It was with the dream of better education for her 11-year-old daughter that Nazbunnisa, a 27-year-old single mother, moved from her native village to Bidar city a few months ago. She had seen a girl from her village study in Bidar’s Shaheen School and later get a medical seat and this had spurred her dreams too.

Dreams gone awry

She rented a small house and started work as a domestic help, while her daughter went to school. But, her dreams did not last long.

A play her daughter acted in about Citizenship (Amendment) Act, with comments allegedly insulting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, led to the school authorities facing a sedition case and Ms. Nazbunnisa and headteacher Fareeda Begum being arrested. The police, after questioning the children, charged that Ms. Nazbunnisa had “taught the objectionable dialogues” to her daughter and the teacher had allowed the staging of the play.

Mohammad Hafeezuddin and his wife, who were staying in the other portion of Ms. Nazbunnisa’s rented house, took care of her daughter for 10 days, before she was moved to a hostel run by the school.

“The police questioning and her mother’s arrest has left her in a state of shock. She would wake up in the middle of the night and start crying. She was depressed,” says Mr. Hafeezuddin, a cloth merchant.

When contacted on phone, the girl had only one thing to say: “I want to see my mother. Please do something.”


Asma Taranum, her class teacher, told The Hindu: “The girl did come to school for the first few days after the arrest. She asked me the same question: “When will my mother be back?’ We tried to console her. For the last few days, she stopped coming to school again. Her examinations started on Monday and she is not writing them.”

When this reporter met Ms. Nazbunnisa in Bidar prison on Monday, she insisted: “My daughter must have picked up something from casual conversation and used it in the play... I am worried about her state of mind.”

Nagesh D.L., Superintendent of Police, said: “I personally feel that the investigating officer should not have visited the school premises and questioned the students so many times. What actually happened is that he could not get all the students in his first two visits. He therefore had to visit again. He did not question the same students every time.”

Other forms of criticism

Tauseef Madikeri, Chief Executive Officer of Shaheen School, is still shocked at how a satire attracted sedition, while much stronger dialogues in comedy shows attract none. “Many Opposition leaders criticise Mr. Modi in Parliament. The dialogue delivered by the child in the play was nothing compared to these aggressive criticisms. Yet, a sedition case was booked and students subjected to mental harassment.”

A 10-year-old student of the school told this reporter that he was intimidated by the way the police approached and questioned him. “I got some courage the second time on, and teachers and well-wishers told me not to be scared.”

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 8:46:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/bidar-sedition-case-distraught-girl-yearns-for-mothers-return-misses-her-exams/article30789004.ece

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