A 12-year-old National Bravery Award Winner has written to Chief Justice of India SA Bobde over the death of a four-month-old boy last week at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh, the epicentre of protests against Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA. In her letter, Gunratan Sadavarte has sought probe into the infant's death.
"Participation of infants and children (in protests) amounts to torture and cruelty," reads Ms Sadavarte's letter as she seeks guidelines from the Supreme Court on participation of minors.
Zen Gunratan Sadavarte, a class seven student from Mumbai, received National Bravery Award on Republic Day this year. She had helped save several lives when fire broke out at an apartment in the city in August, 2018.
Ms Sadavarte has also sought action against organisers of the Shaheen Bagh protest, blaming them for the infant's death and violation of child rights and natural justice
The letter has been written over death of four-month-old Mohammed Jahaan who accompanied his mother almost every day to the round-the-clock sit-in in South Delhi, which began in December and has entered eighth week despite bitter cold.
The infant died of severe cold and congestion last week. His parents, Mohammed Arif and Nazia, live in a makeshift house made with plastic sheets about two km from protest site; they have two other children -- a five-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son.
The Shaheen Bagh sit-in has attracted attention from across the country in the protests against the CAA or the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which makes religion a criterion for citizenship. Critics say the law discriminates against Muslims as only non-Muslims from neighbouring Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh can become Indian citizens if they fled religious persecution and entered India before 2015.
Of late, critics, mainly pro-CAA activists, have attacked the nearly two-month-long sit-in on a key road in Delhi connecting to Noida. They say the protest has become a traffic nightmare for commuters.