Nearly two weeks after their arrest, a Bidar court in Karnataka on Friday granted bail to a student’s widowed mother and teacher in the ‘sedition’ case, which was slapped against them for staging an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) play in the institution.
Nazbunnisa, the mother of Ayesha, a 9-year-old female student, and Fareeda Begum, the head-teacher of Shaheen School in Bidar, was arrested on January 30. The Police had filed an FIR against them after Neelesh Rakshyal, member of the far-right Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), had filed a complaint on January 26.
They were 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 IPC.
The bail will finally reunite Nazbunnisa with her fatherless daughter, who for the past two weeks was in the care of their neighbour. She was shifted to the school hostel this week.
The Karnataka Police has come under heavy criticism for their aggressive action of arresting a widowed mother and the teacher for staging a play and the way, it conducted itself by interrogating little children.
Students as young as nine years old were repeatedly interrogated by the police for participating in the play. The interrogation of minor children only stopped after the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights slammed the Bidar district police for violating rules and for creating “atmosphere of fear” at the school.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in the Karnataka High Court seeking action against the Bidar police, states that about 85 students studying in classes 4-6, were repeatedly questioned, “thus creating a very hostile environment for students, affecting their education and mental state of mind”. “The police questioned the students in uniform and selected students according to their whims and fancies.”