Karnataka

Sedition case: Police interrogate Bidar school students for fourth time

Policemen in plain clothes visited Shaheen School in Bidar again on Monday and interrogated the students, for the fourth time, as part of the investigation into the sedition case against the school authorities for staging a play in which some characters allegedly “insulted” Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

According to eyewitnesses, four policemen, along with two female members of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), arrived in the school around 10.30 a.m. and remained in the school’s office questioning the teaching and non-teaching staff. By 12.30 p.m., Deputy Superintendent of Police Basaveshwara Hira joined the team and began grilling seven students. Some of the students, who were interrogated on Monday, were not part of the play. The questioning lasted for two hours.

It is learnt that the investigating officers repeated the same questions asked in the previous interrogations, such as who gave them the script, who taught the specific dialogues, and where the rehearsal was done.

“I cannot understand why the police are repeatedly subjecting the children of 9 to 12 age group to mental torture. The harassment will affect them in the long run. The police don’t understand if we tell them,” Tauseef Madikeri, CEO of Shaheen Group of Institutions, said.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Hira said claimed that it was not interrogation, but examination of witnesses. “Interrogation is done for accused. The investigation is in progress and I cannot comment any further,” he said.

The interrogation of the children by police in uniform on January 28 had drew widespread criticisms after a photograph of the interrogation went viral. The police then visited the school in plain clothes on January 31 and interrogated the students. They returned on February 1 and interrogated around 60 students.

The children had staged the play during the annual day celebrations on January 21 on the theme of Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens. A character said she would beat anyone asking for documents during NRC with footwear. Other kids were heard asserting that they would not show the documents to prove citizenship. Following a complaint by Neelesh Rakshyala, an activist, who alleged that some of the dialogues amounted to “insulting” Mr. Modi , the police filed an FIR.

On January 30, the police arrested Nazbunnisa, mother of the child who delivered the dialogues, and Fareeda Begum, the teacher who supervised the play, based on the child’s confessions.


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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 4:20:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/sedition-case-police-interrogate-bidar-school-students-for-fourth-time/article30728023.ece

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