NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre and Delhi government on the participation of children in the ongoing protests at Shaheen Bagh after the death of a four-year-old child.
The matter came to light when a 12-year-old girl from Mumbai wrote a letter where she highlighted that the parents of the baby and the organisers of the anti-CAA protests had “failed” to protect the rights of the kid, which ultimately resulted in his death. Zen Gunratan Sadavarte, who is a recipient of the 2019 Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) National Bravery Award also solicited directions to prevent children from participating in demonstrations as it “amounts to cruelty” in her letter.
After the matter made it to the top court, Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde told the lawyers of the mothers who are protesting against the Citizenship Act at Shaheen Bagh, “We have the highest respect for motherhood, highest concern for children and they should not be treated badly.”
The lawyers representing some women protesters attempted to raise the issue of discrimination faced by their children at schools but were immediately shut down.
A lawyer appearing for three women said, “Children come home from school crying because they are called Pakistanis and terrorists.”
However, CJO Bobde said “You cannot use this platform to make such statements. That is not being considered here”
When the lawyers continued to make arguments on the same lines, the CJI responded, “We don’t want people to use this platform to make situation worse. You cannot make irrelevant arguments. This case is not on CAA, NRC, or students being called Pakistanis."
Shaheen Bagh has now become the focal point of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, which grants citizenship to minorities persecuted in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
While hearing the case against the long protests at Shaheen Bagh, the court said people could not be allowed to block a public road indefinitely and scheduled the matter for further hearing on February 17.