Even as the police Tuesday intensified investigation in the sedition case against the management and staff of Shaheen Primary and High school in Karnataka’s Bidar, where children had allegedly insulted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act during a drama enacted by them, the management said that “they will legally defend themselves as they have done nothing wrong”.
Thouseef Madikeri , the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Shaheen Group, which says it runs 43 educational institutions across nine states with over 20,000 students, told, “It is unfortunate that the headmistress and the mother of one of our student continue to languish in jail. The case is scheduled to be heard [in court] tomorrow (Wednesday)… We fully intend to legally defend ourselves as we have done no wrong. A phrase uttered by a 10-11 year old child was inadvertent and unintentional. But why slap a sedition case against us?”
On January 26, police filed cases under IPC section 124(A) for sedition and Section 504 and 153 A of promoting enmity between different communities following a complaint by social worker, Neelesh Rakshayal.
Subsequently, the headmistress of the school Fareeda Begum and Najamunnisa, the mother of a student who allegedly made derogatory remarks against the PM, were arrested January 30 and sent to jail. The hearing is scheduled on Wednesday at a court in Bidar.
Meanwhile, the police visited the school Tuesday in plain clothes, a school official told news agency PTI. This comes days after the police came in uniform and questioned the children, which drew widespread criticism.
“In the morning three police personnel came with two members of Karnataka State Child Rights Protection Commission. Later, the deputy superintendent of police H Basaveshwara joined them.The cops were in civil dress,” the official told PTI. The DSP refused to comment on the matter saying that he was still investigating the case.
Police have been questioning the children and staff about those who wrote the script and assigned to deliver specific dialogues.
“We are unnecessarily being victimised. Police are harassing our staff, students and those associated with the institution,” Madikeri added.
Speaking about the staff and student whose mother has been arrested, Madikeri said,”The student is a very bright child with excellent academic record. Her mother is a widow. The school is taking every step possible to support the child…She is attending school even after the detention of her mother and we will ensure that all support and help is provided to her.We have also extended all support to the staff member… We will provide them with the best legal help.”
”…this is not about religion but about freedom, law and liberty. We will not be cowed down. We will fight to get justice,” Madikeri said.