‘Was Just a Play’: Bidar School Girl as Mother Jailed for Sedition

“Purpose of our play was to remove misunderstandings about CAA,” says the 11-year-old girl from Bidar in Karnataka.

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Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam


Eleven-year-old Ayesha (name changed) in Bidar in Karnataka has been living with her neighbour. She has no option. Her mother Najbunnisa, a domestic help and a single mother, is in judicial custody. Why? Sedition.

Najbunnisa was slapped with a case of sedition, after an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) worker alleged that an anti-CAA play, in which 11-year-old Ayesha acted, was insulting to Prime Minister Modi.

“The purpose our play was to remove the misunderstandings in our society (regarding the Citizenship Amendment Act,” says Ayesha.

She says that even though she told the police what happened that day truthfully, her mother is still in jail. All Ayesha wants is for her mother to come back home at the earliest.


While talking to school officials, hours before her arrest, the only thing Najbunnisa was concerned about was her daughter. Speaking about Ayesha and how she reacted ri to the interrogation, Najbunnisa said, “After coming home (from the police interrogation), she was very upset, and she did not speak much.”

But, with the judge assigned to the case on leave, Najbunnisa’s bail is delayed.

Questioning of School Children Continues

On 3 February, Bidar police team led by Deputy SP Basaveshwara Hira, questioned the students of Shaheen School for the fourth time. Police say this is part of evidence collection against the ‘seditious’ play performed at a school function on 21 January 2020.

“They have interrogated our children for more than four days. Even today, (3 February) they questioned the children for about two hours. The Deputy SP is visiting the classrooms. Some students were taken out of the classrooms and he interrogated them in some corner of the school, where there is no CCTV”
Touseef Madikeri, CEO of Shaheen School.

In one of the CCTV videos, an official is seen waking up a child fast asleep and checking his ID card, before questioning him.


Parents Angry At Police’s Misplaced Priorities

Several parents are angry about the police action in the school premises. Talking to The Quint, one of the parents Ali (name changed) said, “When a shot is fired in Shaheen Bagh, when a shot is fired in Jamia Milia, there no cases are registered. In Mangaluru, a drama was organized on demolition of Babri Masjid, there was no inquiry into that. But because Shaheen (Educational Institution) is a Muslim-affiliated school, that’s why they have been booked (for sedition) without reason,” he said.

As the interrogation continues, 11-year-old Ayesha just wants her mother to come home. When asked if she had a message for people in India, she said: “My request is to see our play, as just a play”

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Topics:  Bidar   Sedition Case 

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