Five minors face sedition charge for dancing to ‘anti-India song’https://indianexpress.com/article/india/five-minors-face-sedition-charge-for-dancing-to-anti-india-song-5224928/

Five minors face sedition charge for dancing to ‘anti-India song’

According to the FIR, a person named Chandan Thathera shot the video and later handed it to a local Bajrang Dal leader named Manoj Bajrangi, who gave the video clip to the police.

Five minors face sedition charge for dancing to ‘anti-India song’
Nasriganj market through which the procession passed

A day after Nasriganj police in Rohtas district of western Bihar held eight people, including five minors, for sedition, the children charged with dancing to a song that spoke about “mujahids” who “threatened” India’s unity, their parents on Tuesday said that the DJ was playing songs from his mobile phone, and the controversial song played “inadvertently” in continuation and the boys danced without realising the lyrics.

The parent of one minor wondered whether any of the boys even know the meaning of mujahid. “They must have danced to the beat — the song barely played for three or four minutes,” he said.

The case was lodged on Sunday after a video of the controversial song was circulated on social media, and the police headquarters reportedly directed Rohtas police to take action.

According to the FIR, a person named Chandan Thathera shot the video and later handed it to a local Bajrang Dal leader named Manoj Bajrangi, who gave the video clip to the police.

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The incident took place last Friday when, around 8 pm, 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 local resident.

Rohtas SP Satyaveer Singh said the case names eight people —- the event’s organiser, Raja Khan (20 years old), DJ player Ashish kumar (20), his driver Mukesh Kumar, and five youths aged between 14 and 17 years —- apart from 20 unidentified people.

While Raja, Ashish and Mukesh have been sent to judicial custody, the minors were produced before Juvenile Justice Board and sent to remand homes.

The FIR was registered at Nasriganj police station under IPC sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity), and 295A (malicious act), as also provisions of the Loudspeaker Act. The SSP said the video clip has been sent for a test at the Forensic Science Laboratory to check its veracity.

According to locals, Ashish Kumar initially played a series of qawwalis before playing the contentious song — roughly translated, the lyrics go, “We are Pakistani mujahids, protectors of Earth; if you challenge us even by mistake, we will cut you up.”

The elder brother of one accused, who studies in Class VI, said, “The children were dancing in joy. Most of them realised that some objectionable and controversial song had been played only after the ruckus following police intervention.”

Father of another boy 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 judiciary.”

Police officials said that the eight people facing sedition charges do not have any previous case against them.
Ashish Kumar’s father Vinod Kumar said, “We do not have to say anything. Let the police investigate the matter.”
Mohammed Shyamul Haque, Nasriganj Akhada Committee president and deputy secretary in the local peace committee, said, “The DJ is solely responsible for playing the song. (But) he could have also played it without knowing what the song was about, as YouTube plays songs in continuation.”