Karnataka HC issues notice to state on Bidar arrests
Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court on Friday issued a notice to the state government in response to a public interest litigation seeking action against the police for examining juvenile students of the Bidar school.
However, the High Court has refused to pass interim orders saying that the interrogation of the students could not be stopped altogether.
A bench of Chief Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar ordered the government to give its reply by February 19.
Former advocate general Ravivarma Kumar appeared on behalf of the petitioners in the sedition case.
Two women from Bidar’s Shaheen Group of Institutions were arrested for an anti-National Register of Citizens skit, in which school children abused Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Police arrested the women after Neelesh Rakshyal filed a case against the school and the play.
The school’s principal Fareeda Begum, 50, and Nazbunnisa, 36, a mother of one of the students who acted in the play were arrested.
According to the petition filed by Congress politician and advocate Nayana Jyothi Jhawar and the South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM), police questioned as many as 85 students.
The petition complained that the police created an unfriendly environment for the students, disturbing their mental state of mind and education.
The petitioners said police chose students for questioning without due process and randomly.
In the light of the Shaheen Goup of Institutions case, the petitioners asked the court to direct Karnataka police to examine minors following the law and initiate action against the officers who did not follow the rules.
They also asked for compensation to be paid to the legal guardians or the parents of the students.
Meanwhile, former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah said the play in the Bidar school had content critical of Modi and his policies.
“In a play enacted in Bidar school, the content was critical of Modi and his policies. How can that amount to sedition? The arrest of the mother is unconstitutional and high-handed,” he said.
Siddaramaiah said the mothers of Karnataka will not pardon Chief Minister B. S. Yeddiyurappa for separating the mother (Nazbunnisa) and her daughter.
The former chief minister said police took action at the behest of Yeddiyurappa and fell into the trap of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Modi.
“He (Yeddiyurappa) seems to have lost his common sense. Archaic Indian Penal Code and other antiquated laws which were framed a century ago have also to be reviewed,” he said.
He visited Begum and Nazbunnisa on Friday in the jail and held talks with them.
By arresting the women, Siddaramiah said BJP stooped to the level of exacting revenge on the women.
He also met with the teachers of the school and students.