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Jailed Dalit Labour Activist Nodeep Kaur Sexually Assaulted by Cops in Custody, Allege Kin, to Move HC

For File: Nodeep Kaur. (Image: Meena Harris)

For File: Nodeep Kaur. (Image: Meena Harris)

Kaur was arrested on January 12, weeks before mass arrests were made by the Delhi Police over the tractor rally violence on January 26. She had participated in the ongoing protests at Delhi's borders against the new agri laws introduced by the Centre.

Days after the sessions Court in Sonipat denied bail to Dalit labour right activist and Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan (MAS) union member Nodeep Kaur, her relatives said they will approach the High Court of Punjab and Haryana for her release.

Kaur was arrested on January 12, weeks before mass arrests were made by the Delhi Police over the tractor rally violence on January 26. She had participated in the ongoing protests at Delhi's borders against the new agri laws introduced by the Centre.

According to reports, Kaur was denied bail twice due to a range of charges against her including Section 307 – attempt to murder. The next bail hearing is scheduled for Monday, 26 days after she was taken into custody, as per a The Wire report.

Kaur’s sister Rajvir said that the allegations are false and Nodeep had told her that she was sexually assaulted in custody. “Nodeep joined the (farmers’) protest at Singhu in November. She was also fighting for labourers who didn’t get wages regularly. On January 12, she was protesting near a factory in Kundli when police picked her up… I met her and she told me cops assaulted her in custody,” she told The Indian Express.

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Nodeep’s lawyer, Jitendar Kumar had said that a medical examination was sought after the Haryana Police arrested her. The medical report revealed wounds on her body and private parts. “This points to the fact that Nodeep was sexually assaulted in police custody,” Kumar alleged.

Nodeep's alleged sexual assault in police custody was condemned and many took to Twitter to express their solidarity with the 23-year-old activist. On Friday, Meena Harris an American lawyer, author and niece of US Vice-President Kamala Harris in a tweet said "Nodeep Kaur was arrested, tortured & sexually assaulted in police custody" and used the hastag #ReleaseNodeepKaur.

Poet and author Rupi Kaur also shared a video of Nodeep and said the "Haryana police abducted nodeep kaur from her tent at singhu protest."

The Sonipat police on Saturday denied the allegations about "illegal detention and harassment”, and termed them an “afterthought”. The Police said Kaur was kept in the ladies waiting room at the police station and was accompanied by two female police personnel for the entire duration of her stay.

Kaur was taken to the Civil Hospital where lady doctor conducted a general medical examination and a special medical examination to determine sexual assault. "She herself gave a written statement that she doesn’t want to be medically examined as she had not been assaulted,” the police said.

According to the police, no mention of any assault by police official was conveyed before she was presented before the Chief Judicial Magistrate prior to being taken to Karnal jail.

Kaur's kin claimed Nodeep was in a MAS tent set up at the Singhu border, and dragged away in cuffs. The police said, Kaur and other members of the Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan had been trying to break into a factory in Kundli for “illegal extortion” under the garb of workers’ unpaid salaries. Officers who tried to "mediate" were allegedly attacked by union members armed with sticks and rods, leading to seven police personnel being injured, police alleged.

first published:February 07, 2021, 11:00 IST
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