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Karnataka HC Asks Police to Respond Within a Week on Interrogation of Bidar School Kids by Cops in Uniform

File photo of a police officer questioning two boys of the school in Bidar. (News18)

File photo of a police officer questioning two boys of the school in Bidar. (News18)

The petitioners submitted photographs of investigating officials who had visited Shaheen Primary School in New Town area of Bidar on five different occasions. Earlier, photographs of police officials in uniform had gone viral, based on which the plea was filed.

Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court on Monday pulled up the state government for the 'illegal' way in which police questioned minor students in the sedition case against a school in Bidar. The bench, headed by Chief Justice Abhay Sreenivas Oka, was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL), which raised questions over the investigating officer's conduct and if the rules were followed during examination of students for allegedly performing a play that was critical of the newly amended Citizenship law.​

The petitioners submitted photographs of investigating officials who had visited Shaheen Primary School in New Town area of Bidar on five different occasions. Earlier, photographs of police officials in uniform had gone viral, based on which the plea was filed.

"Was the investigating officer wearing civil clothes while questioning the students? Photographs submitted by petitioner show otherwise. There are four people," the bench said.

Responding to which, advocate general Prabhuling Navadgi said that he wouldn't want to contest the photographs submitted, however, there remains a need to verify their authenticity to ensure they are not doctored.

The advocate general also took note of the additional document submitted by the petitioner, which included four letters written by parents raising objections to the way their wards were interrogated.

In one of the letters addressed to the chief justice, a parent named Barkat Ali wrote, "My daughter was interrogated without my consent or without my knowledge, at a tender age she faced such a serious suffering. This has affected the psyche of my child and I fear that may have some effect in the future."

The advocate general suggested to the court that the letters submitted could have been written under coercion by the school management. However, the court went on to take the documents on record.

Justice Oka also directed the investigating officer, DSP in Bidar, Basaweshvara Hira, who visited the school to counsel the students on January 28 as well a February 3 and 4. Withing a week, Hira has to submit an affidavit explaining whether he was in civil clothes and why the subordinating officers were in their uniform, as seen in the photographs submitted.

The court has listed the matter for hearing on March 26.

first published:March 09, 2020, 20:53 IST