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“Nodeep is in jail because she stood with protesting farmers,” says family, vows to move High Court if bail not granted in all cases

Photo courtesy: CJP

As per her family, Nodeep dismantled the government’s claim that people from the nearby areas are facing problems due to the farmer’s protest by showing solidarity with the protest. 

Suprakash Majumdar, TwoCircles.net

Delhi: Incarcerated activist Nodeep Kaur of Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan (MAS) was granted bail on Thursday (February 11) in an alleged case of ‘extortion’ filed against her by Haryana police on December 28.

But, as per lawyers associated with the case, Kaur will stay in jail as there are multiple (at least three) cases filed against her. The bail plea of Kaur was rejected by Sessions Court in another case on January 12.

“Even though she has got bail in FIR no 649 (extortion), she won’t be released until she gets bail in the remaining two FIRs filed against her,” Advocate Vikar Atrri told TwoCircles.net.

In addition to this, the bail plea in another case is pending and is likely to be fixed today (February 13).

Who is Nodeep Kaur?

Nodeep Kaur is a 24-year-old Dalit labour rights activist from Giadarh village in Muktsar district of Punjab. She is a member of Mazdoor Kisan Sangathan, a group advocating for the alliance between Mazdoor (workers) and Kisan (farmers). Kaur’s parents are associated with Punjab Khet Union and are activists as well.

Since November 2020, Kaur has been part of the protests – along with the farmers, against the three farm laws at Singhu border at New Delhi.

Kaur has been a vocal advocate of the worker’s rights and has sought to combine the efforts of the workers and farmers against the three farm laws.

Arrest and incarceration 

On January 12, Kaur was taken into custody by Haryana Police in Kundli, Sonipat area of Haryana. Charged under section 148 (Rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (a member of unlawful assembly),186 (obstruction of public servant), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to public servant), 353 (assault or criminal force on public servant), 384 (Punishment for extortion), 379B (theft) and 307 (attempt to murder) under IPC, she was sent to judicial remand on January 15 by the Sonepat District court.

Kaur was protesting against the unpaid dues of a female labourer on January 12. The protest was carried out under the banner of Mazdoor Adhikaar Sangathan and at least 35 workers participated in the protest.

“We were just standing and sloganeering in front of the company building which is at Plot No. 349 in the Kundli Industrial Area. We wanted to meet the factory owner and ask him the reason for the nonpayment of the wages. Everything was peaceful on our side, according to us”, said Rakesh, a member of MAS and an eye-witness.

“The QRT (Quick Response Team of KIA) were assaulting us and one of them pulled out a gun,” he added.

Later, the police arrived at the site.

“They immediately started to lathi-charge us,” said Rajesh, another eye-witness to the incident.

While talking to TwoCircles.net, SHO Ravi Kumar of police station Kundli said, “We had received a complaint that some people were trying to extort money from the factories and factory owners in the area. That is why we immediately rushed to the spot. We reached there with 6 constables and we saw about 90 people carrying lathis. They immediately started to man-handle us.”

However, according to a fact-checking report by the National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations, instead of trying to mediate the situation, “the police started on an aggressive note.”

“They started abusing, man-handling and molesting the female protesters including Nodeep. They tried to arrest Nodeep but a scuffle broke out between the police and the protestors. Later the police started lathi-charging and seeing that the protestors are moving back, the police fired 8-10 rounds of bullets. Fearing  for their lives, the crowd dispersed and Nodeep was arrested,” the report alleges.

However, SHO Ravi Kumar denies that bullets were fired and claims that the “protestors were violent and even tried to snatch their weapons.”

Solidarity with farmer’s protest as ‘basis of arrest’

Kaur has been named in three FIRs, for incidents on December 3, December 28 and January 12.

On December 3, MAS organized an 8-kilometre march from NIFTEM Chowk to the main stage of the farmers’ protest at Singhu border. Kaur addressed the crowd from the main stage and spoke in solidarity with the farmers’ protest.

On December 6, MAS organized another march marking the death anniversary of Dr Ambedkar and ‘Babri Masjid Demolition’ day.

“She disrupted the government’s claim that people from the nearby areas are facing problems due to the farmer’s protest by showing solidarity with the protest,” Rajveer, sister of Nodeep told TwoCircles.net.

“There were about 2000 labourers who live and work near the Singhu Border Protest site,” she added.

Rajveer claims that the administration is suppressing her voice and ‘arrested her because she stood with the farmers.’

On December 28, the police had filed an FIR against Nodeep, but didn’t arrest her.

“We tried to reason with her, but she didn’t listen and organized another march,” SHO Ravi Kumar says.

According to Rajveer, “the police are in collusion with the Kundli Industrial Association(KIA).”

“The KIA has previously stopped us from unionizing and frequently gets in our way while demanding rights for labourers associated with us. They are just made up of bouncers. This is a revenge plot by the administration against us workers,” she said.

Rajveer alleges that, “Nodeep was beaten and abused by male officers in custody.” The police, however, denied the allegations.

Rajveer said that Nodeep’s bail was denied on February 8. “The bail was denied on the grounds that she is dangerous because she manhandled the police and there is section 307 (attempt to murder) in the FIR,” she added.

On February 7, an online petition calling for justice and release of Nodeep Kaur was launched by Citizens of Justice and Peace (CJP), a Human Rights movement dedicated to upholding and defending the freedom and constitutional rights of all Indians.

“We will move the High Court if bail isn’t granted to her (in all cases),” said Rajveer.