Bengaluru: Students of the Bidar school booked for sedition after it staged a play that was critical of the Citizenship Amendment Act were questioned for the fifth time on Tuesday.
Despite the questioning of more than 80 students since the case was filed, some of them multiple times, Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister Suresh Kumar said he is not aware of the developments.
When asked about how children aged between nine and 12 could be questioned on so many occasions, Kumar told News18 he does not have the details of the case, adding that he would try to look into the matter and ask for details.
On January 21, Shaheen Primary and High School had staged a play that had allegedly depicted Prime Minister Narendra Modi in poor light following which sedition charges were slapped on the school.
A case was filed on January 26 after a video went viral and an individual, named Neelesh Rakshayal, filed a complaint against it. The school headmistress and mother of a student were arrested few days later.
"Police questioned the students for about one-and-a-half hours on Tuesday. Same questions like who scripted the play and who wrote the dialogues were asked. They were also shown the play on laptop and phones as before,” said Thouseef Madikeri, CEO of the school.
Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said, "Everything has been done as per law. The law is taking its own course. It is a very serious and sensitive case. I am gathering more details about the probe in the case."
Prabhu Chavan, the minister in charge of Bidar, also said police officers were only doing their duty. “What happened at the school is worrying — using unparliamentary language and misleading people about our PM. Everybody is anguished. The police officers checked the video and felt that foul language was used against our PM. That's why they are investigating it. It is their duty,” Chavan said.
When asked if minority institutions are being targeted, Rural Development Minister KS Eshwarappa said, "Minority institutions does not mean they can do anything."
Women and Child Development Minister Shashikala Jolle, who too said she is unaware of the case, later termed the repeated questioning of the children as harassment.
“I will get the details. If police are doing it, then it is wrong, it is harassment. Investigation is equally important, but if children are being harassed, I wouldn't support it," she told News18.
"If students are being questioned, it should be over in one or two rounds. I will seek a report and talk to the home department as well," she added.
Congress MLA Rizwan Arshad on Tuesday visited the school to express solidarity with the authorities. He also met the principal and the student’s mother in jail. Their bail petition will be heard on Wednesday.