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India police ‘harass’ students over play criticising citizenship laws

7 February 2020 10:44 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Protesters against India’s new citizenship laws (AFP/dawn.com)   

 

NEW DELHI AFP Feb5, 2020 - Indian police are “harassing” primary school students by repeatedly questioning them after their school was charged with sedition over a play allegedly criticising the government’s contentious citizenship law, rights groups said Wednesday.   


India has been gripped by widespread street demonstrations against the law that grants citizenship to religious groups from three neighbouring countries, but excludes Muslims.   
Police questioned nearly a dozen young student actors after a member of the youth wing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party filed a complaint against the school in Bidar district in southern Karnataka state.   


A teacher and a mother of an 11-year-old participant were arrested under the British colonial-era law for helping the children with the performance, which was part of the school’s foundation day programme.   


 “They have been asked to explain the reasons over repeated questioning of children,” the head of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Anthony Sebastian, told AFP.   Amnesty International India urged the government to drop the sedition charges.   

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