Bengaluru: A Bidar district court will give its verdict on Friday on the bail petitions of a school principal and a student’s parent who were arrested over sedition charges for a play that was allegedly critical of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Shaheen Primary and High School principal Fareeda Begum and Nazbunnisa, the mother of a student, have been lodged at the Bidar district prison since January 30 following their arrest.
The court was also hearing a second petition for anticipatory bail, filed by the school management and a journalist named in the FIR for uploading a video of the play on social media. The plea will be heard on February 17 as the prosecution asked for more time to file objections.
On January 21, students of the primary section of Shaheen School had staged a play that allegedly had anti-CAA dialogues.
A man, named Nilesh Rakshyal, filed a complaint with police stating the play was disrespectful towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi and could disturb peace in society. He said the play could a wrong message about the government and its policies and decisions.
Local cadres of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) then staged a protest outside the school and submitted a memorandum to the state home minister seeking action against the institute’s authorities.
Soon after, the principal and student’s mother were arrested and children who took part in the play were repeatedly questioned. Reports of police excesses in the interrogation of the students for over five days have led to massive criticism against the state’s handling of the case.
The ABVP, the student outfit of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), then released a statement seeking government intervention into the matter.
The statement read, “The act of police questioning and interrogating innocent children is condemnable. The ABVP demands the state's intervention and justice for the children. The culprits should be punished at the earliest.”
Meanwhile, state Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao expressed concern over the two-week imprisonment of two women.
“It’s so sad to see that learned judges don’t seem to understand when, where & on whom the #Sedition laws can be made applicable. The govt prosecutor is making wild claims. But the two women, a head mistress & a student’s mother remain in prison,” Rao said on Twitter.