It has been just over a month since minor students of Shaheen Urdu Primary School in Karntaka’s Bidar performed a play critical of NRC-CAA on 21 January.The events that have unfolded in the small town since were described by the case’s defense lawyer BT Venkatesh as ’Kafka-esque and absurd’. A case of sedition and spreading communal disharmony was registered against the school authorities and a local journalist, Five days after the play was performed at a school function, attended only by parents and staff, where a child allegedly says something that ‘showed PM Modi in a bad light’.What came next was the repeated interrogation of kids aged 9-11 years, arrest of a teacher and a single mother and an alleged smear campaign by local police to malign the reputation of Shaheen Educational Institution, a prominent government-aided school with tens of branches.‘Sedition Used to Suppress Dissent’: Advocates on Bidar School Row“The police have virtually no case for sedition. The entire play was in Deccani Urdu which normally people in small towns speak. When there is some anger, saying ‘mein chappal se maarta hu’ is a very common statement. The play here involves that we are not going to show the documents, that we are not going to prove our citizenship... Is it bringing disaffection to the government? No.”BT Venkatesh‘Children Most Scared, Worst Affected’While the defense counsel was trying to ensure anticipatory bail for those named in the FIR, Venkatesh said the police took their ‘investigation’ to the next level.“We filed an application for anticipatory bail, the interesting part was that immediately thereafter the police make a big issue out of it. they go to school. They get all the children in the room, parade the students and put them into a room. They start grilling them about who provoked them, who scripted this play. It was a shock to the children, and it was a violation of all the rights guaranteed under the protection of child rights commission act, the juvenile justice act, the child rights act and all the SC judgments which has very clearly said that you cant talk to children in this fashion. Its not permissible,” he said.He added that the children were scared, and henceforth, none of the children will be permitted to participate in a play given the dangers.“Children were shocked and aghast, in fact they were paraded,” he added.Sedition Case Against Woman For ‘Pro-Pak’ Slogan at Owaisi EventChasing Innocents for Arrest Amid ‘Wild Allegations’Venkatesh said that when the vidoes of cops interrogating children caused a national furore, the police amped up their efforts.“There was a furore on this issue, they go to the next level. They just go catch the mother and teacher who was in that particular class and the mother of the child who mouthed this dialogue and they just say they have been accused of this offence and they just send them to jail,” he said.Stating that the single mother was a ‘destitute’ without a husband and earning a pittance by doing domestic chores, Venkatesh said that the cops went after her with wild allegations.Venkatesh said that when the videos of cops interrogating children caused a national furore, the police amped up their efforts.“This lady has no husband, she is a destitute, she is making her child study in an Urdu-medium school, government aided school where they cannot afford to educate their children. and that mother is separated form the child and she has no contact with the child at all. And the strange fact is that they parade her in the court, seek a remand for her and make a large statement, allegation seeking remand that she would run away from the state,” he noted.‘Have Cops Read the Law?’: Citizens Fume Over Bidar Sedition Case‘Virtually No Case for Sedition’Arguing that the police had virtually no case for sedition, Venkatesh claimed the local police had missed the plot and were rushing to prosecute in the case, in order to please somebody from the current dispensation.“Anything which is not to the liking of the state, can be sedition. Its is a state. If the state itself does it, or the constituent of the state, then it doesn’t amount to an offence. But anyone else, even the mildest possible reaction can be listed,” he said. We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated. The Quint is now available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, Click here to join.