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Karnataka HC Asks Govt to Take Action Against Cops Who Interrogated Children in Uniform

Last year, Bidar police had registered a sedition case against Shaheen School and interrogated students of class 4, 5 and 6 for staging a play on the CAA and NRC

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – Karnataka High Court on Monday asked the state government to take action against the police officers for interrogating children of Bidar’s Shaheen School terming the police action “serious violation of rights of children”.

Last year, Bidar police had registered a sedition case and interrogated students of class 4, 5 and 6 for staging a play on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and NRC. The police had also arrested the headmistress and parent of a child. The interrogations were done on five different occasions in the last week of January and February, 2020.

Following the police action, a petition was filed by lawyer Nayana Jyothi Jhawar in the High Court seeking actions against the police officers for illegally interrogating the children.

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice N S Sanjay Gowda observed that the interrogation of the children by the police officers while carrying weapons and wearing uniform “is a serious case of violation of Rights of the Children and provisions of 86 (5) of JJ Act 2016,” says a report in Live Law.

Section 86 of Special Juvenile Police Unit for Children in its Sub-Rule 5 says: “The police officer interacting with children shall be as far as possible in plain clothes and not in uniform and for dealing with girl child, woman police personnel shall be engaged.”

After going through the photos provided to the court, the judges found that the police officers interrogated those children while having weapons and wearing police uniforms.

“We have perused an affidavit filed by Deputy Superintendent, Basaveshwar of March 16. In the affidavit he has not dealt with photographs attached to rejoinder, he has dealt with photographs annexed in IA 1, 2020. The second photograph of April 1, 2020, shows that these school children (2 boys, 1 girl) are being interrogated by five police officers out of which four are in full uniform and at least two of them are carrying firearms. In the affidavit Shri Basaveshwar has accepted the correctness of the photographs annexed to the IA. By not denying the photographs annexed to rejoinder, it is apparent that he has accepted the correctness of the photographs,” Live Law quoted the court as saying.

The court also asked the state government to submit an action taken report stating what action they have initiated against the erring police officers.

“We direct the state government to respond by filing an affidavit of a very senior officer stating on record what action has been initiated against the police officers who interrogated school children, while wearing uniform and carrying firearms. Apart from placing the action taken report the state government may consider issuing directions to the police throughout the state which will ensure that such violation of rights of children does not take place again,” said the court.

The Judges also orally raised objections to the police action against these children.

“If we condone this action, this will be repeated. We cannot condone such action at all,” said the Bench. “Why are children subjected to all this? This has to be corrected, this can’t go on like this.” — IANS

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