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24-year old activist Nodeep Kaur in police custody since Jan 12; Meena Harris, Gurratan Singh demand release

BusinessToday.In     February 9, 2021

A 24-year old Dalit labourer and trade union activist from Punjab has been behind bars since January 12. The 24-year old trade union activist Nodeep Kaur was arrested when she joined a labourers' protest at Kundli in Haryana. The activist has been in custody since nearly a month without bail.

Kaur, who is a resident of Gyandar village under Kakhuwali Mandi police station in Punjab's Muktsar Sahib, was arrested on the basis of an FIR under Sections 148 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 452 (trespassing), 384 (extortion) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The case was filed as per a complaint by Lalit Khurana, an accountant at Elecmech Private Limited, Kundli. The accused Nodeep Kaur along with two other women and over 50 men entered the company office and started demanding money.

The police complaint accessed by India Today reads, "When we refused, they created a ruckus and threatened us of dire consequences. We called the cops who were also beaten up by the accused and her accomplices."

The FIR states that Inspector Ravi Kumar and two constables got injured in the incident because of stone pelting and were attacked with sticks as well. The FIR further added, "The accused also tried to snatch a carbine from a gunman besides a file from head constable Rakesh."

It also states that the police officials managed to arrest Kaur with the help of lady constable Rita and also conducted raids to arrest the other co-accused in the case. Kaur's bail plea has been quashed multiple times.

Meanwhile, her sister Rajveer Kaur, a research scholar at the Delhi University has denied these allegations and said, "My sister is a labour and Dalit rights activist. She along with other activists had gone to get the wages of some labourers released, but the owner of the factory opened fire at them. The allegations are false. We also tried to lodge a complaint but that was not entertained."

Police officials have, however, trashed these allegations and said Nodeep was facing two other criminal cases. Sonipat SP Jashandeep Singh Randhawa said, "This is not the first case registered against Nodeep Kaur. She is already facing a criminal case. The allegations are not false as the CCTV footage recovered from the factory premises shows the accused and others assaulting the cops."

The case garnered international traction as lawyer and US Vice President Kamala Harris' niece Meena Harris tweeted about this using the hashtag #ReleaseNodeepKaur.



Canadian MP Gurratan Singh also said in a tweet, "Nodeep Kaur, an advocate for Dalit and Worker rights from Punjab, was picked up by the police 21 days ago for supporting farmers. She's been tortured and sexually assaulted in custody. She was denied a medical exam and bail. Calling on leaders to raise their voice for her. #FreeNodeepKaur"

Ravinder Singh of the Khalsa Aid, Instagram poet Rupi Kaur and environmental activist Licypriya Kangujam also tweeted on this issue.




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