Activists Ekta and Ravi Shekhar returned home to their 14-month-old baby Champak in Varanasi on Thursday, a day after an Uttar Pradesh court gave bail to them and 56 others arrested for protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the NRC nearly two weeks ago.
The Shekhars, who run the environment NGO Climate Agenda and made national headlines with many voicing concern about their toddler daughter being left alone, were among the 59 people taken into custody during the protests on December 19.
“My baby daughter Champak is dependent on my milk, I was worried about her. It was very tough for me,” Ekta Shekhar was quoted as saying by ANI.
On Wednesday, the court of the additional sessions judge, Varanasi, granted bail to Ekta (32) and Ravi (36), residents of Mehmoorganj, and 56 others, ending their ordeal.
"I didn't think it would take so long," an emotional Ekta told NDTV as she hugged her daughter after two weeks. "Main bata nahin sakti (I can't put it in words)," she said when asked how it felt. The bail application of the couple -- nabbed along with other protesters from Left groups from Beniyabagh and nearby localities for violating prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CRPC -- was initially cancelled by a lower court and the next hearing fixed for January 1.
In their absence, their baby was being taken care of by her grandmother Sheila Tiwari, uncle Shashikant and her aunts.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi on Wednesday had slammed the Yogi Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday over the plight of a 14-month-old girl whose parents were arrested for participating in an anti-CAA protest defying prohibitory orders.
Priyanka Gandhi said that it is the moral duty of the government to allow the child's mother to return home.
"The BJP government has shown such inhumanity in suppressing people's protests that such a small child has been separated from her parents. Chanchal's health has worsened but that has not affected the bad intentions of the BJP government. Chanchal's parents are in jail for holding protests in a peaceful manner," Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
With input from agencies