Police officers including the Deputy Superintendent of Police of Bidar district turned up at the Shaheen Primary and High School on Monday once again to question students at the school. The school management, a headmistress, and parents have been booked for sedition for staging a play against the Citizenship Amendment Act. A complaint filed by an ABVP activist said that there were dialogues insulting the Prime Minister and the children have already been interrogated thrice over this.
Despite heavy criticism for putting the children through trauma, plain clothed officers questioned as many as seven students on Monday. Except for one student, the rest were not part of the play, but had taken part in other activities the same day. These children were asked to identify where the other children practiced for the play and what they were asked to do.
Last week, police arrested a parent named Nazbunnisa whose daughter had delivered the dialogues that the ABVP activist objected to, along with the headmistress of the primary section Fareeda Begum. Since the two women have been charged with sedition, the police are now trying to gather evidence to show that parents and teachers had a role to play in penning the dialogues.
Nazbunnisa’s daughter too was questioned, and that too for the third time. The DySP asked her whether the kids were asked to change the script and utter any dialogues. He also asked school officials about the role of teachers in organising the play.
"It is simply harassment. We feel like we are being watched. As usual the police vehicle turned up outside the school at 2 pm and the police including the DySP began interrogating students about the play," Tauseef Madikeri, the school’s head told TNM.
This reporter who was present at the school during the interrogation asked the officer why it had become necessary to come back to the school for the fourth time. "We are carrying out investigation as per procedure and we cannot comment on it now. We are collecting information about the play," Bidar DSP Basaveshwara Hira replied.
When asked whether sedition was even applicable in a case like this, the DySP said, “I cannot comment on it at the moment. Investigation is on."
Many of the parents were angry and upset. "Was anyone in the school questioned when a school in Dakshina Kannada staged a play depicting Babri demolition?" a parent asked TNM.