The Supreme Court on Friday took cognisance of the death of an infant on January 30 at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi on January 30, during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, PTI reported. The court took cognisance of the matter following a letter written by a Class 7 national award winner to Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde’s office.
A four-month-old infant had died in his sleep on the night of January 30 after returning from Shaheen Bagh, where his parents had taken him for the protest. On Friday, the court said it will hear the matter on February 10.
On February 5, Zen Gunratan Sadavarte, a recipient of the 2019 Indian Council for Child Welfare National Bravery Award, wrote to Bobde’s office, alleging that the parents of the baby and the organisers of the protest had failed to protect the child’s rights, resulting in his death.
“The Shaheen Bagh protesters at New Delhi include women, senior citizens, newborns and children, ignoring the fact that newborn babies need a lot of attention and care as they cannot express their pain in particular, thereafter also ignoring the conditions unfavourable to the children, they are brought to the protest place which is violative of their child rights and natural justice,” the letter, written by Sadavarte said.
Sadavarte also faulted the Delhi Police for failing to prevent children from participating in the protests. The letter expressed surprise that even the death certificate of the four-month-old does not mention the cause of death.
Shaheen Bagh has become the epicentre of protests against the amended citizenship law and the proposed National Register of Citizens. Hundreds of women have been peacefully protesting there since December 15. The Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch in the Capital has been closed since December 15 after protestors began the sit-in.
The Supreme Court, during the same hearing on Friday, also deferred pleas to remove protestors from Shaheen Bagh until after the Delhi Assembly elections, which will be held on Saturday. “We understand there is some difficulty, but we will be in a better position to take it up on Monday [February 10],” the court said.
The Citizenship Amendment Act 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. However, it excludes Muslims from its purview, leading to protests against it. At least 28 people have been killed in these protests so far, of which 26 died in BJP-ruled states.