UP: Baby Longs For Parents Arrested During Peaceful Anti-CAA Protest
Ravi Shekhar and Ekta, a married couple, were arrested and jailed for participating in a peaceful protest march against Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens on December 19 at Beniabagh area in Varanasi.
The couple’s 15-month-old child, Arya, lovingly called Champak, bereft of her parents has lost weight and become weak.
“We still don’t understand why we are being made to suffer like this. Is it a crime under the present regime to participate in a peaceful protest march? We are drained physically and emotionally. For the last 10 days we have been repeating the same thing to visiting journalists and other people,” Subhangi Tiwari, a cousin of Ravi Shekhar, told The Hindu.
Debadrita and Shashikant, elder brothers of Ravi Shekhar, are taking care of Arya.
“Champak is a breastfeeding baby. She has just completed one and a half years. She misses her parents and looks for them. Champak is very close to me because whenever Ekta and Ravi go out, I look after her. Ever since they have been arrested, we are looking after Champak,” Debadrita told Hindustan Times.
“We offer her milk, biscuits and play with her. We also take her out in the evening so that she could play with other children,” he added.
Shashikant told media they have filed a bail petition for Champak’s parents, which will be heard on January 1 in a local court.
Champak’s separation from her parents came to light after Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted about the child on Tuesday.
बनारस में कई सारे छात्र, अंबेडकरवादी, गांधीवादी और सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता शांतिपूर्ण तरीके से नागरिकता कानून के खिलाफ प्रदर्शन कर रहे थे।
पुलिस ने उनको जेल भेज दिया है।
एक परिवार का एक साल का बच्चा अकेले है।शांतिपूर्ण प्रदर्शन की ये सजा। सरकार का व्यवहार हद से बाहर हो चुका है। pic.twitter.com/w0OHeYxGuW
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) December 24, 2019
“Several students, Gandhians, Ambedkarwadis, and social activists were protesting peacefully against the CAA in Varanasi recently. Police has sent them all to jail. A one-year child is alone at home. Such harsh punishment for peaceful protest! This behavior of the government has gone beyond limits,” said Priyanka in one of her tweets criticising Uttar Pradesh government’s crackdown on anti-CAA protests.
At least 19 people, including an eight-year-old boy who died in a stampede, have been killed across Uttar Pradesh during anti-CAA protests since December 19.