Bihar: Eight Arrested Including Children As Young As 10 For Dancing On A 'Seditious' Song
Eight people, including five children, got arrested on sedition charge and attempt to promote disharmony, as they were dancing on an allegedly seditious song during Eid celebrations in Nasriganj, Bihar. The police made the arrests after a video of the dance went viral on the social media.
According to The Indian Express, the accused were dancing to a song, which was playing on the DJ, connected to a Mobile phone that spoke about “Mujahids” who “threatened” India’s unity.
The parents of one of the arrested minors said that the children were unaware of the content in the song, they were dancing without even realising the lyrics of the song. They also said that the song played ‘inadvertently’ in continuation.
“They must have danced to the beat — the song barely played for three or four minutes,” said the elder brother of one of the minor arrested.
The father of another boy also expressed his grief towards the children’s arrest. He said, “Sedition charges against these little boys have hurt us badly. There has never seen any communal riot in Nasriganj’s history. In this town, you can still hear Azaan (call of prayer from a mosque) and Ram dhun (devotional song) going on simultaneously. We are trying to hire a good lawyer and pinning all hope on the judiciary.”
The case was lodged after a man named Chandan Thathera reportedly shot a video and gave it to a local Bajrang Dal leader, who then provided the footage to the police.
The incident took place last Friday night when about 150 people aged between 10 and 22 years took out a “chand julus (moon procession)” a day before Eid after hiring a DJ, named Ashish Kumar, a resident, who is among the eight people arrested in the case.
As per the Police, the eight people facing sedition charges do not have any previous case against them.
This is not the first time when people have been booked under the colonial law of sedition. From time and again the law has been interpreted differently to make an arrest and in some cases, it has been used to silence the dissent of the people.
For instance, in 2014, a Muslim youth from Kerala was arrested and charged with sedition for not standing up during the national anthem in a movie theatre and for allegedly posting a derogatory comment about the national flag on Facebook.
In another case, 67 Kashmiri students from a private college in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, were booked for sedition after they cheered Pakistan during a cricket match India lost.
Recently, a cartoonist and a journalist, Kamal Shukla, who hails from Chhattisgarh was charged with sedition for sharing a cartoon on Facebook that allegedly made derogatory references to the judiciary and the government.
In 1962, in the case, Kedarnath Singh versus state of Bihar, the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court had said, “What has been contended is that a person who makes a very strong speech or uses very vigorous words in a writing directed to a very strong criticism of measures of government, might also come within the ambit of ‘sedition’. But, in our opinion, such words written or spoken would be outside the scope of the section. A citizen has a right to say or write whatever he likes about the government, or its measures, by way of criticism or comment, so long as he does not incite people to violence.”