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National Bravery Award winner Zen Sadavarte humiliated by Shiv Sena leaders on Women’s Day for ‘not speaking Marathi’

"They started exploiting my right to expression. I have the right to speak in both English and Hindi as both are Union languages. They told me that if I wanted to live in India, then, I must speak Marathi", Zen stated.

On Sunday, 12-year-old Zen Sadavarte, the recipient of National Bravery Award, was interrupted and humiliated at an event in Mumbai, Maharashtra by Shiv Sena leaders. Her speech on the occasion of Women’s day was cut short because she did not know how to speak Marathi.

She recounted, “The panel on the stage consisted of Shiv Sena leaders. Everyone got the message when I spoke in Hindi and English. I don’t know what agitated the party members that they began to attack.”

Zen reiterated, “They started exploiting my right to expression. I have the right to speak in both English and Hindi as both are Union languages. They told me that if I wanted to live in India, then, I must speak Marathi. It is my right to speak the language I wish to speak.”

The 12-year-old was speaking on the issue of mid-day meals not being served to children on Saturdays and Sundays. She also highlighted the need for “horizontal reservation” for transgenders.

The Bravery awardee was shocked to find the representatives of Shiv Sena misleading people. She alleged, “They started lying on stage that they have given reservation and claimed that they knew more about the State as they lived there.”

Last month, Zen Sadavarte had written to the Chief Justice of India (CJI), Sharad Arvind Bobde, seeking directives stopping children from being used in protests. The letter was written on the backdrop of an unfortunate incident where one 2-month-old infant died after the parents took her to Shaheen Bagh for protests and exposed the infant to Delhi’s bitter cold.

When a protestor was asked about the death of the child, the protestor said, “Humne thodi maara hau suko? Allah ki bacchi thi, Allah ne apne paas bula liya. (We didn’t kill her. She was Allah’s child and she has gone back to Allah’)

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