Licypriya Kangujam, a nine-year old environmental activist from Manipur, was detained by the Delhi police on Sunday when she was protesting against the increasing pollution crisis outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
“They took her somewhere but we couldn’t trace her,” said a post from her official Twitter handle managed by her guardians. The handle updated that she was later released by the cops near Jantar Mantar.
Licypriya demands that the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre pass a law to tackle the climate change crisis in the capital city. “Either Coronavirus or air pollution will kill us,” she tweeted.
Increasing levels of air pollution is a normal affair for Delhiites to wake up to, but Licypriya’s protests have only added to the crescendo surrounding demands for a better law to tackle climate change. Aarav Seth, a 12-year-old who protested with Licypriya, was also detained. Reportedly, the police detained the duo for 40 minutes for the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel to pacify the crowd that had gathered there.
“I’m raising my voice not just for me, it’s for the millions of children of Delhi and the people of this country. Our leaders just pretend, but they don’t take any concrete action yet,” she tweeted from her handle.
Licypriya added that she was sternly warned by the police that she would be arrested if she held demonstrations again. “Under what law, how can a 9-year old be arrested or detained? It is illegal detention,” she tweeted. “This is my right to raise the voice to give us clean air to breathe,” she added. “If I don’t tell our leaders then to whom I should tell? My demand is for them too.” She also said that she will continue her protests.
“My only mistake was I protested in the most highly restricted security zone of India,” she added. “Anyway, they released me without any conditions after some time in Jantar Mantar. But usually I protest every week there as a routine campaign to give awareness to the people on climate change.”
Licypriya Kangujam has become the face of climate-change activism in India. Her arrest has caused a nationwide outrage on social media with many condemning the detaining of the minors.
(Edited by Athira Nair)