Sedition case over anti-CAA school play: Headmistress, student’s mother get conditional bail in Bidar

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Shaheen Urdu Primary School has 254 students. (Express Photo: Sreenivas Janyala)

A Karnataka court on Friday ordered that the mother of a 11-year-old student and the headmistress of a private school at Bidar, who were arrested on January 30 in a sedition case over an anti-CAA play staged in the school, be released on conditional bail.

Bidar district and sessions judge Managoli Premavathi ordered that Najibunnisa, the mother of the 11-year-old student of Shaheen Primary School, and Fareeda Begum, headmistress of the school, be released on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh each and two sureties. The order cites the condition that they should not “directly or indirectly make any inducement threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the court, or to any police officer or tamper with the evidence’’.

The women were arrested after ABVP activist Nilesh Rakshyal filed a police complaint over an anti-CAA play staged at the school on January 21 as part of annual day celebrations.

The activist said in his complaint that he saw a video of the play enacted by students of the school on the social media account of a journalist. The students, he alleged, were used to promote anti-national sentiments and some children spoke of hitting Prime Minister Narendra Modi with slippers to depict opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act.

The police in Bidar registered a complaint of sedition and breach of peace following the complaint. Besides the two women, the police booked the management of the school and journalist Mohammed Yousuf Raheem on whose social media page the complainant found the video. Police said that the mother of the Class V student added dialogues that were not part of the original script for the play and that the child uttered unconstitutional words.

During the investigation, the police questioned dozens of children at the school and have been accused of violation of child rights by the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

“We still can’t believe that a satirical play critical of NRC attracted a charge of sedition and our children were interrogated for about five days. We squarely can’t blame the complainant because it is also due to the failure of the executive — the police department — that we are facing sedition charges today,’’ CEO of Shaheen Group Touseef Madikeri said.