Nazbunissa, the mother of a student, and Fareeda Begum, the head teacher of the primary section in the school were arrested on January 30.

Bidar sedition row Mother teacher to be in jail for more time bail plea deferred
news Controversy Wednesday, February 05, 2020 - 15:17

The Bidar District and Sessions Court on Wednesday decided to hear a bail petition for the mother of a student and a head teacher at Shaheen Primary and High School in Bidar district of Karnataka on February 11. The duo were arrested on charges of sedition.

The court has asked the Public Prosecutor to reply to the bail application within a week.

Nazbunissa, the mother of a student, and Fareeda Begum, the head teacher of the primary section in the school were arrested on January 30 over a play staged in the school on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The play was staged by students of classes 4, 5 and 6 on January 21.

Subsequently, an FIR was registered by police officials in Bidar New Town Police Station based on a complaint by Nilesh Rakshala, an activist of the Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) on January 26.

Nilesh, in his complaint, accused the school management of 'insulting' Prime Minister Narendra Modi through the play. He also accused the school management of sedition. Police registered the FIR charging the school management with sedition but they are yet to explain whether sedition charges are applicable.

Police officials in Bidar, led by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Basaveshwara Hira have turned up at the school five times over the past week to question students. Police officials are collecting information about the role of staff and students in staging the play. They are yet to explain on what grounds sedition charges were filed against the school management.

Nazbunnisa is the mother of Ayesha* (name changed), the girl who is accused of 'insulting' Prime Minister Modi through a dialogue in the play. The head-teacher was arrested as she was in charge of the play.

Nazbunnisa is a widow and since her arrest, Ayesha has been living with their neighbour as their close relatives are not in Bidar.

The charge of sedition has been used against those protesting against the CAA in a bid to declare their actions as anti-national. Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code defines sedition as "any attempt to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection towards the lawful government". Yet, under explanations in the same law, it is pointed out that comments expressing “disapprobation of the measures of the Government with a view to obtain their alteration by lawful means” are not offences. 

The school management stated that it will fight the charge of sedition registered against them. "We are being continuously harassed by police turning up every day at the school and asking the same questions to the students. The police is asking questions like 'Who scripted the play?' and 'Where was practice held?',"says Touseef Madikeri, CEO of the school.

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