The Principal District and Sessions Court in Bidar while granting anticipatory bail to accused Abdul Qadeer in the infamous Bidar Sedition Case observed that the play enacted by students at Shaheen Urdu Medium School on January 21 did not constitute sedition under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code.
Abdul Qadeer is the founder of Shaheen Group of Institutions. The headmistress of the school, Fareeda Begum was arrested by the police along with a person named Nazbunnisa, the mother of a Class V student on January 30.
The arrest was made on the complaint of an ABVP activist named Nilesh Rakshyal who alleged that the play stirred “anti-national sentiments.” He had added that the children spoke of hitting Prime Minister Narendra Modi with slippers. Sedition charges were thus pressed against the duo who are now out on conditional bail.
The Judge of Sessions Court, Managoli Premavati, observed that the “extracted portion” of the play which was held as “offensive”, if read as a whole, did not amount to sedition against the government.
Judge Premavati stated, “What the children have expressed is that they will have to leave the country if they don’t produce certain documents and except that, there is nothing to show that the student committed the offence of sedition. The dialogue, in my considered opinion, does not go to bring hatred, contempt or excite dissatisfaction towards the government.”
The Court observed that “as a citizen, everybody has the right to express disapprobation of the measures of the government with a view to obtaining their alteration by lawful means.” The Judge added that the play did not cause any “disharmony in society.”
The Court remarked, “All that the artists have said is that Muslims will have to leave the country if they do not produce the documents as required under the proposed CAA, NRC Acts.” It observed that there was no “reference to any other community in the play” and hence was not an offence under Section 153A of IPC (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, language).
Commenting on the development, Bidar Superintendent of Police Nagesh D L said the judge’s observations were in respect of the order granting anticipatory bail. It will not be part of the ongoing trial against the staff, the parent and the management members of Shaheen Urdu Medium School, he asserted.
Last month, the police had detained ex-Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and three other Congress leaders (Dinesh Gundu Rao, Rizwan Arshad, and K Suresh) in Bengaluru during their march against the Bidar Sedition case. The Congress leaders were trying to take out a protest march from the Gandhi Statue in Race Cross Road to the Chief Minister’s office.