The death of a child who was taken to a protest site like Shaheen Bagh and made to endure the biting cold is being touted as a sacrifice. Let us call it what it is - negligence, which can be construed as culpable homicide
Bengaluru: The death of a toddler at Shaheen Bagh has been touted by many in the Opposition as a sacrifice made against the citizenship law.
The four-month-old child, Mohammad Jahaan, died of illness contracted due to the biting cold. The Opposition which has claimed that the new citizenship law is against Muslims has been terming this as a sacrifice. Let us make this clear that this is not a sacrifice, but a case of negligence by parents.
Clear case of negligence:
The baby’s father, Arshad, who operates an e-rickshaw says that it was for a cause: "I never felt it was wrong to send him. I would tell my wife Nazia that if the baby remained at home, he would be cranky and hence it was better to take him."
Jahaan’s parents say that the child was never unwell. They had been taking him since December 18. "That night he was cold and I rubbed oil on him and put him to sleep. The next morning he did not wake up," his mother Nazia said.
A punishable offence:
Smita Dikshit, a leading advocate in the Supreme Court tells MyNation that what has happened is extremely unfortunate. What has happened is a punishable offence as it amounts to the child being abandoned. Not giving food or subjecting a child to cold is punishable under the Indian Penal Code.
This is the case of an infant and it is the duty of the parents to protect the child. In this case, even the father can be booked for negligence. Here the mother is not a breadwinner. This means that the mother is at the protest site subject to her husband’s wish. The child cannot take any decision on his own. The child does not have adequate immunity and the parent has wilfully left her home. Instead of taking the child to a doctor, the mother took him to a protest site. It is biting cold out there and this was bound to happen. In my view, this also amounts to culpable homicide, Smita Dixit also says.
Not a sacrifice:
The priority of the mother should have been to care for the child. It was a clear case of negligence and now they arre trying to make it look as though it is a sacrifice. It is clear that a four-month-old child should not have been at a protest site. The parents of the child are migrants from Uttar Pradesh.
They are struggling to make two ends meet. Instead of caring for the child, they were part of a protest, which from day one looked clearly like a motivated one. Former officer with the Research and Analysis Wing, Amar Bhushan, says that it is impossible to sit at Shaheen Bagh and especially for such persons unless there is an incentive. It is clearly a motivated protest against the citizenship law, which in reality does not affect a single Muslim in India. Are they protesting against the persecuted Hindus getting citizenship? Bhushan also asks.
This incident has led to a 12 year old bravery award winner Zen Gunratan Sadavarte petitioning the Chief Justice of India to intervene. She says that parents should stop taking children to the protest venue. The child’s right to life was violated, she also said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the protest at Shaheen Bagh was nothing but a political experiment. This protest is only aimed at building up a false narrative to divide the nation.
Using children in the protests and now a dead child is also part of the ploy. These elements want such protests to take place in different parts of the country. They want parents to bring out their children to the streets, instead of sending them schools and fending for them.
There is a deliberate mis-information campaign that is on to suggest that the new citizenship law is discriminatory in nature. The new law only says the persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Christians and Parsis from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan will be given citizenship. It does not speak about the Indian Muslims at all. The PM was right in calling this a political experiment and the protests are just an attempt to divide India.
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Last Updated Feb 6, 2020, 2:09 PM IST