The arrests were made based on a complaint by a BJP functionary alleging that Siraj Bisaralli recited an anti-CAA poem while journalist Rajabaxi uploaded the video of the recital on social media.

Poet and journalist arrested in Karnataka for anti-CAA poemFIle: SIRAJ BISARALLI, IN A FACEBOOK POST
news CAA Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 15:56

A poet and a journalist were arrested on Wednesday in connection with a poem against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizen (NRC) at a government-sponsored function in Koppal district of Karnataka last month. They will be in police custody after a local court rejected their bail.

The arrests were made based on a complaint by a BJP functionary alleging that Siraj Bisaralli, a poet, had recited an anti-CAA poem at 'Anegundi Utsava' in Gangavathi town of Koppal district in January.  Bisaralli recited the poem Ninna Dakhale Yaavaga Needuttee? (When will you give your documents?”) at festival, which was a government-sponsored cultural event. Following this, Rajabaxi, the editor of Kannadanet.com - an online news portal, was booked for uploading a video of the recitation on social media.

Police had registered a case against them under section 505 of IPC (statements conducing to public mischief). On Tuesday, Bisaralli and Rajabaxi surrendered before a court in that district, which rejected their bail plea and remanded them to police custody for investigation into the matter.

"Siraj had recited the poem and Rajabaxi had shared it on social media. Based on a complaint by a BJP leader, the case was registered under section 505 of the IPC. They went absconding after the case was registered. They, however, surrendered before the court on Tuesday," a police officer told PTI.

The duo sought interim bail, which the public prosecutor objected to and sought police custody to conduct an inquiry. The court granted Bisaralli and Rajabaxi custody until Wednesday afternoon.

"We may not seek further extension of their custody until some fresh evidence surfaces. We have seized their mobile phones to ascertain whom they had shared the details with," police said.

Reacting to the incident, a protest by the Student Federation of India (SFI), the student wing of the CPI(M), has been organised in Bengaluru’s Town Hall.

This case in Koppal comes after police across Karnataka has registered sedition cases in Mysuru, and Bidar. In Bidar, the police had arrested a mother and a teacher of a child who played a role in an anti-CAA play. In January, the police booked a student in Mysuru for holding a ‘Free Kashmir’ placard.

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