The relatives of Nodeep Kaur, a 23-year-old Dalit labour activist who has been in police custody since last month, are planning to approach the High Court of Punjab and Haryana after a Sessions Court in Sonipat refused to grant her bail.
Allegations have been raised against the police for sexually assaulting Kaur, a member of Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan in Sonipat, in custody. She was arrested in January on charges of trying to break into a factory for “illegal extortion” on the pretext of the demonstration.
Her sister Rajvir told The Indian Express that the allegations against Nodeep are false and that they have started the process to approach the high court.
She said Nodeep had joined the farmers’ stir at Singhu in November besides protesting for labourers over non-payment of wages. She was detained by the police on January 12 when she was protesting near a factory in Kundli, Rajvir said.
“I met her and she told me cops assaulted her in custody,” she alleged, according to the report. Similar allegations were levelled by advocate Amit Shrivastav, president of Delhi Chapter of the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations.
Weird to see a photo of yourself burned by an extremist mob but imagine what they would do if we lived in India. I'll tell you—23 yo labor rights activist Nodeep Kaur was arrested, tortured & sexually assaulted in police custody. She's been detained without bail for over 20 days. pic.twitter.com/Ypt2h1hWJz
— Meena Harris (@meenaharris) February 5, 2021
American lawyer Meena Harris, niece of US Vice-President Kamala Harris, has demanded her release. “23 yo labor rights activist Nodeep Kaur was arrested, tortured & sexually assaulted in police custody. She’s been detained without bail for over 20 days,” she said.
Police, however, on Saturday denied the allegations of illegal detention and harassment as “afterthought”. They said Nodeep was kept in the ladies’ waiting room at the police room accompanied by two female police personnel during her stay there.
On January 12, when she was arrested, her Sangathan’s members assaulted the cops with sticks and rods when they arrived to meditate, alleged the police, adding that seven police personnel were injured. Two FIRs have been lodged in this matter.
Sessions Judge YS Rathor rejected her bail stating that she was facing two FIRs and does not deserve bail in view of “the gravity of offence.”