BIDAR SEDI­TION CASE: AC­CUSED GET BAIL

Hindustan Times (Bathinda) - - Front page - HT Correspond­ent let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com ■

A district court in Kar­nataka’s Bidar on Fri­day granted con­di­tional bail to the head­mistress of a school and the par­ent of an 11-year-old stu­dent ac­cused of mak­ing sedi­tious re­marks dur­ing an anti-caa play.

› We are look­ing for­ward to the next hear­ing on Mon­day. It’s hard to be­lieve that a satir­i­cal play crit­i­cal of the NRC could at­tract sedi­tion charge. Po­lice ha­rassed our stu­dents for five days. The buck stops with the po­lice for slap­ping sedi­tion charges

THOUSEEF MADIK­ERI, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Sha­heen Pri­mary and High School

BENGALURU: A district court in Bidar, Kar­nataka, on Fri­day granted con­di­tional bail to the head­mistress of Sha­heen Pri­mary and High School, Fa­reeda Begum, and the par­ent of a 11-year-old stu­dent ac­cused of mak­ing sedi­tious re­marks while stag­ing an anti-cit­i­zen­ship Amend­ment Act (CAA) play on Jan­uary 21. The judge ruled that the ac­cused can be re­leased against a per­sonal bond of ~1 lakh each.

Fa­reeda Begum and Na­jabunissa are likely to be re­leased on Satur­day af­ter the le­gal for­mal­i­ties are com­pleted.

On Jan­uary 21, dur­ing the school’s an­nual day cel­e­bra­tions, stu­dents of classes 4, 5 and 6 staged a play against the CAA and the con­tentious Na­tional Regis­ter of Cit­i­zens (NRC). Con­tro­versy broke out, when a video clip of the play went vi­ral on the so­cial me­dia.

Nilesh Rak­shala, a right-wing ac­tivist, filed a case on Jan­uary 26, based on which the po­lice ar­rested Fa­reeda Begum and Na­jabunissa on Jan­uary 30 af­ter in­ter­ro­gat­ing sev­eral stu­dents over five days.

Rak­shala had al­leged that Na­jabunissa’s daugh­ter made provoca­tive re­marks against Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi un­der head­mistress Fa­reeda Begum‘s watch.

Thouseef Madik­eri, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Sha­heen Pri­mary and High School, al­leged that the po­lice ha­rassed school au­thor­i­ties and stu­dents for stag­ing the anti-caa and NRC play.

“We are look­ing for­ward to the next hear­ing on Mon­day. It’s hard to be­lieve that a satir­i­cal play crit­i­cal of the NRC could at­tract sedi­tion charge. Po­lice ha­rassed our stu­dents for five days. The buck stops with the po­lice for slap­ping sedi­tion charges,” Madik­eri said.

The judge or­dered both the ac­cused to present them­selves be­fore the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer, when re­quired, and co­op­er­ate fully with the court .

Mean­while, Kar­nataka High Court has is­sued no­tice to the state gov­ern­ment on Fri­day to re­spond to a pub­lic in­ter­est lit­i­ga­tion (PIL), which had sought ac­tion against the po­lice for ques­tion­ing mi­nor stu­dents of Sha­heen Education So­ci­ety in Bidar. A bench, com­pris­ing Chief Jus­tice Ab­hay S Oka and He­mant Chan­dan­goudar, di­rected the state gov­ern­ment to file its re­sponse by Wednesday. How­ever, the court re­fused to pass any in­terim order on the mat­ter.

The PIL was filed by ad­vo­cate Nayana Jyothi Jhawar and South In­dia Cell for Hu­man Rights Education and Mon­i­tor­ing. For­mer ad­vo­cate gen­eral Ra­vi­varma Ku­mar rep­re­sented the pe­ti­tion­ers.

Ear­lier on Fri­day, for­mer Kar­nataka CM Sid­daramiah, who met Fa­reeda Begum and the Na­jabunissa in jail, said that the Congress con­demns the B S Yed­dyu­rappa-led gov­ern­ment’s move and the way the anti-caa and NRC protests have been han­dled.

He promised that the Congress would sup­port the Sha­heen Pri­mary and High School au­thor­i­ties and those in­di­vid­u­als who have been ‘wrongly’ charged in the sedi­tion case.

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