Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights had issued notices to the police in Bidar over questioning students multiple times over an anti-CAA play.

After child rights commission notice cops end questioning of Bidar school students
news Controversy Thursday, February 06, 2020 - 10:10

Police officials in Bidar ended their stringent questioning of students at the Shaheen Primary and High School on Wednesday. This comes after the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights sought a report from police in Bidar over questioning students in school.

Police officials led by Bidar Deputy Superintendent of Police Basaveshwara Hira have visited the school five times over the past week to question students about a play staged at the school which voiced dissent against Prime Minister Modi and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The Bidar police's questioning of the students at the school was criticised by many observers, particularly after photographs of the police questioning students in uniform were shared widely. 

However, police officials did not visit the school on Wednesday after having done so on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.

"We have now collected information about the play and we won't be visiting the school unless there is a new development in the case,” Basvaeshwara Hira told TNM. 

 An FIR was registered against the school management charging them with sedition. The mother of a student and a head-teacher at the school were arrested on January 30. In addition to the two arrested women, a journalist Mohammed Yusuf Raheem is also accused of sedition. He uploaded the clips from the play on social media and is now absconding.

Officials at the school confirmed that police did not visit the school on Wednesday. "We were told by child rights officials that the police will not visit the school for further questioning. We are relieved that the police's harassment of our students is over," Touseef Madikeri, the school's CEO said. 

Police officials have justified the decision to visit the school five times and question the students for hours. 

"The reason why we had to go multiple times to the school was that we could not interview all the students and staff we wanted to since they were not available. We have not repeatedly questioned anyone. We interviewed different sets of students when we visited the school. The investigating officer has reported that he has collected enough information from the school," recently appointed Bidar Superintendent of Police, Nagesh DL, told TNM.

The SP has been asked to reply to the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights in 7 days. 

Contrary to the SP's statement, one student in the school was questioned thrice by police officials. The student - Ayesha* (name changed) - was repeatedly questioned since it was allegedly her dialogue in the play that landed the school in trouble. Ayesha's mother Nazbunnisa was arrested by the police. She is a widow and since her arrest, Ayesha is living with their neighbour as her relatives do not stay in Bidar. 

Women and Child Welfare Minister Shashikala Jolle also took cognizance of the issue and told reporters that she will look into it.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Bidar District and Sessions Court on Wednesday decided to hear a bail petition for the mother of a student and a headteacher at Shaheen Primary and High School in Bidar district of Karnataka on February 11. 

Also read: Bidar sedition row: Mother, teacher to be in jail for more time, bail plea deferred

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