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Indian court questions interrogation of children in anti-govt play

Published : Saturday, 15 February, 2020 at 12:00 AM  Count : 58

BENGALURU, Feb 14: An Indian court on Friday ordered a state government to explain why police interrogated children who performed a play critical of a new law, a lawyer said, in a case that has raised questions about freedom of speech.
Parliament in December passed a law, championed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Hindu-nationalist party, aimed at facilitating citizenship for migrant members of non-Muslim religions from India's Muslim-majority neighbors.




Critics say the law violates India's secular constitution and discriminates against minority Muslims. At least 25 people have been killed in protests against it.
Students at a school in the southern state of Karnataka performed a satirical play on Jan. 21 in which reference were made to "dictators" and dialogue that suggested hitting Modi with a shoe, which is seen as particularly insulting.
Police, lawyers and school officials said that following a complaint from a member of the public, the headmistress of the school, Farida Begum, and the mother of one of the children who took part in the play were arrested on Jan. 30.
Police later questioned children as young as nine, some of them as many as five times, said Thouseef Madikeri, chief executive of a foundation that runs the Shaheen English Primary and High School, and Narayan Ganesh, a lawyer for the two accused women.    -REUTERS



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