Plainclothes officers questioned the students about details regarding the allegedly offensive statement against PM Modi in the school play

Four policemen in plainclothes along with two female members of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) visited the Shaheen School in Bidar for the fourth time on Monday as part of the investigation in the case of sedition registered against the school authorities for staging a play where some characters allegedly ‘insulted’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reported The News Minute.

The policemen and the members of the CWC arrived in the school at around 10:30 AM. They were joined by the Deputy Superintendent of Police Basaveshwara Hira at 12:30 PM who then allegedly proceeded to grill seven students, six of whom were not part of the play. The questioning lasted two hours and some of the students questioned were not part of the play. It was reported that the investigating officers asked the same students that were asked in previous investigations – who gave the students the script, who taught them the dialogues, and where the rehearsal had taken place.

Tauseef Madikeri, CEO of Shaheen Group of Institutions told TNM, “I cannot understand why the police are repeatedly subjecting the children of 9 to 12 age group to mental torture. The harassment will affect them in the long run. The police don’t understand if we tell them.” He also said, “This is mental harassment of the students who are 9 or 10 years old and also of the parents. Some students who took part in the play have not turned up at school because of this. Is this because we are a minority institution?”

A parent asked, “Was anyone in the school questioned when a school in Dakshina Kannada staged a play depicting Babri demolition?”

However, DySP Hira claimed that it was not an interrogation, but examination of witnesses. “Interrogation is done for accused. The investigation is in progress and I cannot comment any further,” he said.

The first visit of the police to the school on January 28 had garnered widespread criticism for putting the kids through trauma after they were seen investigating children.

On January 30, based on the statements of the children, the police had arrested Nazbunnisa, the mother of the child who had delivered the allegedly insulting dialogues against the PM and Fareeda Begum, who had supervised the play and booked them for sedition.

They had then visited the school on January 31, but this time in plainclothes. Again, in an investigation on February 1, they interrogated 60 students.

According to TNM, Nazbunnisa’s 11-year-old daughter was also questioned for the third time and the Dy SP Hari asked her if the kids were asked to change the script and utter any dialogues.

Nazbunnisa had apologized on a TV channel for the allegedly offensive line in the play in which her daughter’s character said, “Hit them with a chappal if anyone asks for documents,” allegedly referring to PM Modi.

TNM visited her and Fareeda who were lodged at the Bidar District Prisons and Corrections Service but they refused to say anything related to the matter. Their bail hearing is yet to take place in Court since the judge is on leave.

Courtyesy Sabrang India