Kannada reporter-poet booked for ‘breach of peace’ for his anti-CAA poetry

Siraj Bisaralli has sought anticipatory bail even as the local BJP workers have filed a complaint against him.
Kannada reporter-poet booked for ‘breach of peace’ for his anti-CAA poetry
Kannada reporter-poet booked for ‘breach of peace’ for his anti-CAA poetry

Siraj Bisaralli, a poet with many Kannada poetry books to his name, has been booked for reciting his poem “Ninna Dakhale Yaavaga Needuttee?” (When will you give your documents?) at the Anegundi Utsava that was held in Koppal recently. The Koppala unit of BJP took notice of the poem recited at the festival after they saw that it was shared widely on the internet, and went to the police, according to The Hindu. The complainants alleged that the poem insulted PM Narendra Modi. 

Siraj is also a reporter for Koppala with the Kannada news channel PrajaaTV, as confirmed by Ravi Ganiga, MD of PrajaaTV.

The Gangavathi Rural police in Koppala district have filed an FIR against the poet, and against Rajabaxi HV, the editor of Kannadanet.com, who shared the poem on the internet. The FIR has been filed under IPC sections 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 505(2) (Statements conducive to public mischief).

Siraj told TOI that he has never faced such problems, despite authoring two anthologies of his poetry, and was seeking anticipatory bail as he could get arrested any moment.

The Anegundi Utsava is a local cultural festival celebrated in the village of Anegundi in Koppal. It was organised on January 9, after a gap of five years, according to media reports. The festival was organised with funds from the state exchequer amounting to Rs 1 crore, along with Rs 1.10 crore CSR funding from various corporate organisations. It was inaugurated by Chief Minister Yediyurappa, along with Deputy CM Laxman Savidi and Karnataka Cultural Affairs Minister CT Ravi, according to newspaper Kannada Prabha.

This case comes amidst several crackdowns on protests and cultural activities that criticise the controversial CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) and the proposed nationwide NRC (National Register of Citizens).

On January 26, the police in Bidar district booked a sedition case against a school and its management for a play performed by children. The play reportedly had a line against PM Modi – a line in the play reportedly said those who ask for documents for NRC should be beaten with slippers. 

On January 9, the Mysuru police booked a case of sedition against Nalini, a former student of Mysuru University for holding a poster which said “Free Kashmir”. At the time, she gave a statement as to why she held the poster. “I wanted to remember and remind people that coming out to the streets to protest against the unconstitutional CAA, NRC, NPR is a privilege we have. We have been able to amplify our voices against it, while the valley has been in darkness unable to voice out their dissent. This is all I meant by ‘Free Kashmir’. Nothing more, nothing less. None of the student bodies of the University of Mysore are responsible for the placard.”

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