Sedition charges against Indian primary school over a play on contentious citizenship law

Sedition charges against Indian primary school over a play on contentious citizenship law

NEW DELHI - Indian police have launched a sedition investigation against a primary school over a play that allegedly criticised a contentious citizenship law, officials said on Wednesday (Jan 29).

There have been widespread street demonstrations against the law introduced by the Hindu-nationalist government that grants citizenship to religious groups from three neighbouring countries, but excludes Muslims.

Police said they were laying initial charges under the British colonial-era law against the principal and the management of the school in Bidar district in the southern state of Karnataka.

The probe came after a member of the youth wing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party filed a complaint against the school.

"We have started an investigation into the complaint by an activist who alleged that the play criticised and disrespected Modi," Bidar police chief T. Sreedhara told AFP.

He added that the young student actors, aged between nine and 10 years old, were also being questioned but would not be charged.

A school official told AFP that they were being "unnecessarily" targeted by the government for expressing their views. Get exclusive insights of Asia from our network of correspondents

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The play, which was performed on Sunday, was part of Shaheen Public School's founding day celebrations.

A video of the five-minute play shared on social media showed students talking about how they feared the government would ask millions of Muslims to prove their nationality or be expelled from India. -APP/AFP