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Rise of sedition cases in Karnataka

Karnataka recorded 22 cases of sedition against 25 individuals in 2019, most of whom were protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act

September 05, 2022 08:17 am | Updated 12:41 pm IST

A candle light vigil at Mysore Bank Circle, in Bengaluru on February 04, 2020, to protest the filing of sedition case in Bidar for a anti CAA play, put up by school children. File photo

A candle light vigil at Mysore Bank Circle, in Bengaluru on February 04, 2020, to protest the filing of sedition case in Bidar for a anti CAA play, put up by school children. File photo | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K

Karnataka had the ignominy of recording the highest number of sedition cases in the country — 22 against 25 individuals in 2019. It dropped to 8 cases in 2020 and zero in 2021. Most of the sedition cases registered in 2019 and 2020 were against activists protesting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. Here are a few prominent cases:

Bidar school case 

In 2020, the Bidar police filed a sedition case against teachers, parents of Shaheen school for organising a play against CAA-NRC, in which the Prime Minister was allegedly insulted. A journalist was also booked for broadcasting the clip on social media. A team led by Deputy SP Basaveshwar Heera visited the school several times and interrogated children between 9 and 12 years of age. They were even summoned to the police station. After the intervention of the courts, the accused got bail and the police personnel who had interrogated the children faced disciplinary action.

Journalist arrested for poem

Siraj Bisaralli, a television reporter, was arrested for reading a poem against CAA-NRC in the Kannada Sahitya Sammelan at Anegundi. The poem did not name any individual, but was seen to be mocking the Prime Minister and other leaders and that it supported anti-national causes. He was released after the court heard his bail plea. The cases against him and a fellow poet Raja Baxi were filed by BJP leaders C.V. Chandrashekar and Shivakumar Arakeri.

Booked for sloganeering 

Student-activist Amulya Leona was arrested and booked for sedition for raising “Pakistan Zindabad” slogan at an anti-CAA rally in Bengaluru. She spent over two months in jail before being released on bail. Two more student activists Ardra Narayanan in Bengaluru and another girl and organisers of an anti-CAA protest in University of Mysore were booked for sedition for carrying a “Free Kashmir” banner at the protest. 

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