In the middle of the nation-wide resistance against the controversial new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), widely criticised for excluding the Muslim minority and thereby being unconstitutional, several cases of intimidation have emerged as methods to stomp out the dissent—by detaining and booking people for social media posts, protests and even rangolis. But in the latest incident, a sedition case has been filed against a school in Karnataka for making its students perform an anti-CAA play during their Republic Day function.
The management of a school in Karnataka’s Bidar district, which is run by the Shaheen Group of Institutions (a prominent Muslim education organisation from the district), was pulled up for a play that depicted the fear of Muslims being forced to leave the country with the implementation of the CAA and National Register of Citizenship (NRC). The complaint against this play was filed by Nilesh Rakhyal, a local social worker, who alleged that the play portrayed Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a “bad light” and was spreading misinformation about government policies.
Rakhyal, who saw a snippet of the play in a social media video, was particularly furious about a scene in which students say they will hit Modi with slippers if he asks them to furnish documents.
The school principal has been booked under Sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting communal hatred), 504 (provoking breach of peace), 505(2) (statements promoting enmity) and 34 (act done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. “The play…was posted on social media with the intention of promoting enmity between communities. The director and management of the Shaheen School have committed an act that is anti-national in nature by using the students," the complaint alleged.
Although no arrests have been made yet, the school has been sealed off by the police and school authorities, along with the fourth-grade students who were in the play, are being questioned. The management maintains that the play was meant to “depict the present situation” of the country and claims that the police have been mentally harassing the students and staff for the last three days. Just a month back, an RSS-affiliated school was booked for making its students re-enact the Babri Masjid demolition, in which they triumphantly tore down a poster of the Ayodhya temple.
Follow Shamani Joshi on Instagram.