Karnataka school play has not caused any disharmony in society, says court; All accused granted bail

All the accused in a case of sedition filed over a school play in Karnataka’s Bidar have been granted anticipatory bail by a court that said the case lacked enough basis. The play, themed on protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), “has not caused any disharmony in the society”, said the district and sessions court in Bidar.
The play, performed in January by students between nine and 12, landed in trouble when a sedition complaint was filed over an 11-year-old girl’s lines – enacting an elderly woman, she said if anyone asked for documents she would hit them with slippers.
That led to a sedition case and the police questioning children, teachers and the school management over many rounds.
“The drama has not caused any disharmony in the society. Considering all the circumstances, I am of the opinion that the ingredients of Section 124A of IPC (Sedition) are prima facie lacking,” said the court.
Five members of the school management team have been granted protection from arrest. Earlier, the head teacher and the mother of the student who spoke the dialogue were sent to custody, but on other charges including the abetment of an offence. They were not accused of sedition. They were later granted bail.
The repeated questioning of young students and the arrest of the widowed mother of a student caused a huge uproar in the town.
An order is expected soon on the bail application in another sedition case in Karnataka, against three Kashmiri students. The students, who were studying in Hubbali in north Karnataka, are facing charges for reportedly using pro-Pakistani slogans in an online post. The Hubbali Bar Association had asked its members not to represent the students. Lawyers from Bengaluru who went to Hubbali represent the students were heckled.
On Thursday, a team of lawyers from different districts again went to Hubballi and were provided police protection. BT Venkatesh, one of the lawyers, told NDTV he had a meeting with bar association members and that the matter was sorted out. The students have applied for bail and an order is expected next week.
In a third case, the bail plea of a young woman arrested in Bengaluru for saying “Pakistan Zindabad” at an anti-CAA rally has been withdrawn from a magistrate’s court. It is likely to come before a sessions court next week. The woman, who also raised slogans of “Hindustan Zindabad” at the same event, is in judicial custody.