Delhi Police 'Briefly Detains' 2 Minor Climate Activists for Protesting Against Air Pollution

Nine-year-old climate activist Licypriya Kangujam and 12-year-old Aarav Seth were peacefully demonstrating near Parliament House.

New Delhi: Nine-year-old climate activist Licypriya Kangujam and 12-year-old Aarav Seth were detained by Delhi Police outside Parliament House for protesting against air pollution in Delhi.

According to Kangujam’s Twitter account, which is managed by her guardians, the police detained them for 40 minutes and also called in Central Industrial Security Force personnel to take the protesters.

Kangujam was also taken to an unspecified location in a police vehicle.“They took her somewhere but we couldn’t trace her,” said a tweet from her handle.

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Kangujam said that the police initially tried to take them to the Parliament Street Police Station, but later released them at Jantar Mantar.

Kangujam said that the police gave her a warning and told her that she would be arrested the next time if she held demonstrations there and said, “I appreciate all the police personals for treating me like as a daughter except 2-3 who warned me not to protest again at the same place.”[sic]

“My only mistake was I protested in the most highly restricted security zone of India,” Kangujam said.

Calling it “illegal detention“, Kangujam said, “Under what law, how a nine years old kid can be arrested or detained?”.

“But I will go & protest again. This is my right to raise the voice to give us clean air to breathe. If I don’t tell to our leaders then to whom I should tell? My demand is for them too,” Kangujam added in a tweet.

The national capital’s air quality, which usually declines in the winter, hit an eight-month low on Thursday with stubble burning accounting for only 6% of the city’s PM2.5 concentration, according to government agencies.

Delhi recorded a 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of 312. The last time the air quality hit such a poor level was in February with an AQI 320. The 24-hour average AQI was 276 on Wednesday, which falls in the ‘poor’ category. It was 300 on Tuesday, 261 on Monday, 216 on Sunday and 221 on Saturday.

The Supreme Court had last year in November, pulled up the Centre up for failing to control the air quality in Delhi, saying that “the whole of north India, NCR is suffering from the issue of air pollution.” The apex court also lashed out at authorities for alleged inaction. “Can you permit people to die like this due to pollution? Can you permit the country to go back by 100 years?” asked a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra.