School in Karnataka's Bidar booked for sedition over children’s play on CAA-NRC

Police have also booked a man for uploading a video of the play on Facebook.
School in Karnataka's Bidar booked for sedition over children’s play on CAA-NRC
School in Karnataka's Bidar booked for sedition over children’s play on CAA-NRC

Police in north-western Karnataka’s Bidar district have booked the management of a school and its owner for sedition over a video of children enacting a drama which is allegedly ‘objectionable’ to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The play was reportedly performed at Shaheen School in Bidar on January 21, and an FIR was filed on January 26. 

According to the FIR, the Shaheen Education Institute’s management and teachers have made minor children participate in a play where children are using objectionable language by saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be beaten with slippers. The complainant alleged that the play was spreading misinformation by saying that Muslims in India have to leave the country because of NRC. This message was shared on social media to spread misinformation, the complaint said. The video was uploaded as a recorded live from a Facebook account under the name of Mohamad Yusuf. The URL mentioned in the FIR no longer exists.  

In a video reportedly of the same event, a child is heard telling another child, “The government is telling Muslims to leave India and go away.” In reply, the other child says, “Amma, Modi is saying show documents of your father and grandfather otherwise he is telling us to leave the country.” At this point, another child is heard saying, “Hit them with slippers if anybody asks for documents.”

In the FIR registered by New Town Police in the district,the unnamed President or Head of Shaheen School, and Management persons of Shaheen School have been denoted as Accused 1 and 2. The man who uploaded a video of the play on Facebook, Mohamad Yusuf has been named as Accused 3. They have been booked under sections 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 505(2) (Statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes), 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting, attempting to promote disharmony) and 34 (common intent) of the Indian Penal Code. 

The FIR was registered based on a complaint filed by an ABVP activist called Neelesh. So far police confirmed there have been no arrests made in the case and they are carrying out questioning, including that of children.

Reacting to the development, Mohammed Asem, an administrative staff at the school said, “There was a drama like performance by fifth-sixth standard students, there seems to be some use of (objectionable) words. We are aware of the police complaint. We ourselves are reviewing the content and investigating. We are trying to ascertain if there was any objectionable content in the play performed by students. This play was not a management decision.”

In December 2019, in a school run by RSS leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat in coastal Karnataka, children enacted the demolition of Babri masjid. The video of the incident showed a large number of children “demolish” a poster depicting the masjid and replacing it with a “Ram Temple” photo amidst chants of Ram, Sita, and Hanuman.

The Chief Guests for the event were Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers, DV Sadananda Gowda; Puducherry Governor Kiran Bedi; and several Ministers from Karnataka including H Nagesh and Sashikala Jolle.

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