4-Month-Old Dies After Catching Cold At Shaheen Bagh, Mother To Continue Protest
A 4-month-old infant who was taken by his mother to Shaheen Bagh's anti-CAA protests, almost every day, passed away last week after falling sick due to the exposure to cold.
He died last week after catching a severe cold which caused congestion. His exposure to the chilly Delhi winter by his indirect participation in the outdoor demonstration has been deemed the cause of his illness.
Nevertheless, his mother, Nazia, is unshaken about her decision to continue to participate in the protests, saying that it is "for the future of my children."
The infant's parents live in a tiny hut put together with plastic sheets and cloth in the Batla House area of Delhi and have two other children -- a 5-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son.
Coming from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, the couple struggles to make ends meet.
The deceased's father, Mohammed Arif, is an embroidery worker and also drives an e-rickshaw. His wife, Nazia, helps him in his embroidery work.
"I haven't been able to earn enough in the last month despite driving the battery rickshaw in addition to my embroidery work. Now with our baby's demise, we have lost everything," The Times Of India reported him saying, showing a picture of his deceased son wearing a woollen cap that read 'I Love My India.'
Nazia, reported to be visibly distressed, said that her son passed away in his sleep on the night of January 30, after returning from the protests.
"I had returned from Shaheen Baag at around 1 AM. After putting him and the other kids to sleep, even I went to sleep. In the morning, I found him lying motionless. He was gone in his sleep," India Today reported her saying.
The couple said they took their motionless baby to the nearby Alshifa Hospital on the morning of January 31 where he was declared dead on arrival.
Nazia had been visiting Shaheen Bagh daily with her son since December 18. She believes that her child died after catching a cold.
She said that she didn't realise his congestion was severe. But, the baby's death certificate issued by the hospital does not mention any specific reason for his death.
Shazia, a neighbour who was present at the couple's home, said Nazia had fought with her mother and husband to visit Shaheen Bagh every day. Nazia would gather all women in the bylane outside her house so that they could together walk to the demonstration, around 2 km away. Sometimes, Arif would drop some of them to Shaheen Bagh in his e-rickshaw.
Nazia said she strongly feels that the CAA and NRC are against the welfare of all communities and she will continue to participate in the Shaheen Bagh protests but without her children.
"Why was I doing this? For my children and the children of all us who need a bright future in this country," she told the Press Trust of India. "The CAA divides us on religion and should never be accepted. I don't know if there is politics involved but I know that I must question what is against the future of my children."
Arif, however, blamed the NRC and CAA for his child's death.
"Had the government not brought CAA and NRC, people would not have protested and my wife would not have joined them, my son would have been alive," he said.