Bengaluru, Feb 5 (IANS) The Karnataka Congress condemned the arrest of two women from Bidar’s Shaheen Group of Institutions and wrote to the newly inducted state police chief Praveen Sood against the sedition law.
“By no stretch of imagination, does such an innocent act of protest can be perceived as sedition or treason. We suspect the police have succumbed to pressure from vested interests and some local political leaders,” said the opposition party leader Dinesh Gundu Rao in the letter to Sood.
Rao called on the state government to direct the police to withdraw the case and release the arrested women.
The Congress leader highlighted that sedition law is being misused in widespread manner, hitting vulnerable lives.
“The provisions relating to sedition date back to the 1860, when the British ruled India and wanted to bring a law to suppress any dissent… The words used to define its scope and punishment have very wide and deep meaning,” said Rao.
Two arrested women from Bidar’s Shaheen Group of Institutions were yet to get bail in a case of holding an anti-National Register of Citizens skit, in which school children abused Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The headmistress and a parent arrested in the case are yet to receive the bail. Their next hearing is on February 10,” Bidar Superintendent of Police D.L. Nagesh told IANS.
Fareeda Begum, 50, the headmistress of the school where the play was enacted, and Nazbunnisa, 36, mother of the student who allegedly abused Modi, continue to be in the jail.
Nagesh said Begum and Nazbunnisa may be out of the jail if they procure interim bail.
Bidar Superintendent of Police has assumed charge on February 1 evening. He was not in-charge of the district police when the incident occurred.
Karnataka government transferred his predecessor, T. Sreedhara, to the intelligence unit in the capital Bengaluru.
As he newly assumed charge only four days ago, Nagesh said the Child Welfare Committee is yet to talk to him about the case.
“I think the Child rights panel spoke to the previous Superintendent of Police. I have taken over after this incident has happened,” said Nagesh.
He denied that the police questioned the students five times and no student was repeatedly questioned.
“When the police went to the school for the first time on January 27, no student was available and no student was questioned. Questioning in the sense, the interaction was done with the students only thrice, not repeatedly with the same students,” said Nagesh.
Meanwhile, another police officer said the Shaheen Group of Institutions was not cooperating and the investigation was still continuing.
“Police have to visit the institution multiple times even for basic information. We are not questioning, we are examining,” said the police officer.
He said the investigation involved not only students but also witnesses, teachers and others.
All the students involved in the anti-NRC play were juveniles.
In the anti-NRC drama, former SP Sreedhara had said the children used abusive language against Modi, and they said the Muslims were being thrown out of India and openly called for the defiance of the law.
With its head office in Shaheen Nagar in Bidar and managed by the Allama Iqbal Educational Society, the Shaheen Group of Institutions runs a string of institutes from kindergarten to undergraduation in the state.