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Sedition charge against Patna groups for CAA, NRC lessons to streetkids

The case was registered after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) took suo motu cognizance of the matter, dating back to the passage of the CAA in Parliament in December 2019.

The Patna Police has lodged a case of sedition against two voluntary city groups on the charge of "provocative and anti-national" lessons on the CAA/NRC to street girls at a Danapur residential school. (File Photo)

THE Patna Police has lodged a case of sedition against two voluntary city groups on the charge of “provocative and anti-national” lessons on the CAA/NRC to street girls at a Danapur residential school. The case was registered after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) took suo motu cognizance of the matter, dating back to the passage of the CAA in Parliament in December 2019.

The child rights panel had carried out inspections on February 15 and 25 at the Danapur residential school that lets out its space for the two voluntary groups to hold classes for around 60 street girls between the ages of six and 18 years. The space has been arranged by the Bihar government under the Right to Education Act.

Following an NCPCR letter to Bihar DGP S K Singhal, the police last week registered a case against the Umbrella Foundation and KDDC at the Danapur Police Station under IPC provisions 124A (sedition) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), and under the Juvenile Justice Act.

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An officer at the Danapur Police Station told The Indian Express that the case was being investigated. “No one, however, has been arrested.”

Santosh Mahto, who is associated with the classes held at the Danapur school, told The Indian Express he had little information regarding Umbrella Foundation and KDDC (including its full form). “We do not decide which organisations provide training to the street girls,” he said.

While the Bihar government provides infrastructural support in the form of the building to the child care institute, civil society funds the school’s running. The police said they were trying to find out more about the two groups and had not yet spoken to either.

The NCPCR said it had gone through the homework registers of some of the students during its checks, and found they had “interpreted CAA/NRC” wrongly. One student allegedly had written, “I am against NRC. If I have no home, where can I keep documents.” Chairperson Priyank Kanungo in her letter to the Patna police that he had inspected “all the relevant papers” and concluded that “such lessons would (turn) students against (the) laws of the land”.

The NCPCR first wrote to Patna SSP Garima Malik on March 2, saying, “… the team came across one ‘capacity building register’, where it was found written that ‘NRC, CAA, fund raising training’ was conducted on 20 December 2019… by KDDC… (and Umbrella Foundation)…”. It further wrote that a lesson to students in Hindi on December 26, 2019, said: “… This (CAA/NRC) will affect mostly those living in slums as these are damaged because of floods or other reasons every year… If the Bill (CAA) being brought by the government gets passed, we all should oppose it.”

The NCPCR later wrote to the Bihar DGP, demanding that a case be lodged against all those holding the classes.

Mahto said, “No individual has been named (in the FIR). Police teams have come and spoken to the staffers. Students and their parents are worried.”

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