The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights on Tuesday issued an order to the district magistrate of South East Delhi to identify the children involved in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Shaheen Bagh, and send them for counselling, The Indian Express reported.
NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said the order was based on viral videos purportedly showing children saying things such as “the prime minister will throw us out of the country” and “the home minister will send us to detention camps if we don’t show him documents”.
Kanoongo said it was “extremely worrying” that children were saying these things, and he attributed it to rumours spread about the Act. “We believe the children are in need of intense counselling,” he said. “If need be, their parents should also be sent for counselling.”
The child rights body asked the district magistrate to submit a report within 10 days, NDTV reported. Kanoongo claimed that it was apparent that the children have faced “deep trauma” because of the rumours floating around about the new law. He said local counselling centres were available to remedy this.
For over a month now, hundreds of protestors, mainly women, have occupied the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch to voice their opposition against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Tuesday urged protestors at Shaheen Bagh to stop their agitation, and claimed that it was inconveniencing schoolchildren, patients and the general public. Baijal met an eight-member delegation on Tuesday. They submitted a memorandum of demands, including the withdrawal of the amendments to the Citizenship Act.
The meeting came a day after the Delhi Police urged the protestors to unblock the road as parents of schoolchildren allegedly expressed “deep anxiety” because of upcoming board examinations.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, passed by Parliament on December 11 last year and notified by the Centre on January 10, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims, leading to protests against it. At least 26 people have died in the protests – 19 in Uttar Pradesh, five in Assam and two in Karnataka.