Nodeep Kaur, the Dalit labour rights activist who was arrested and has allegedly suffered custodial torture including sexual violence had her bail hearing postponed because the police failed to present FIR in court.
While speaking to gaurilankeshnews.com, Vidhya Aiyar, a member of Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression, said- “Nodeep’s hearing and the arguments weren’t able to proceed further as the police has not provided family or the lawyers the FIR in question”. The hearing is happening at the District Court of Rohtak, so it is also suspected that the hearing will proceed slowly. “Her relatives or lawyers have not been officially provided with any information on what the charges are, inside the court”.
Due to this refusal of the Police to present the FIR in court, Nodeep’s bail hearing has been postponed and her custody extended further. Vidhya has confirmed to Gauri Lankesh News that the next hearing in Nodeep’s case will be via video conference on February 22, 2021.
Who is Nodeep Kaur?
The labour rights activist was arrested on January 12, 2021, under a number of charges including rioting while armed with a deadly weapon, unlawful assembly, causing hurt to a public servant, assault and criminal force, trespass, extortion, snatching, criminal intimidation, and lastly the Section 307, attempt to murder. Her past two bail hearings have been rejected precisely due to the ‘seriousness’ of charges against her. Her family remains determined and is willing to challenge verdicts further to get her justice.
Nodeep comes from a landless family in Muktsar Sahib in Punjab. According to her sister, Nodeep has recently passed 12th Standard and had come to Delhi to find some employment so as to provide for herself and contribute to the family. She started working at a bulb-making factory FIEM Industries in Kundli Industrial Area (KIA). There, she tried to raise issues of workers not being paid for months, of facing harassment, especially women. She joined Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan (MAS) an organization fighting for the rights of workers.
It appears what has irked the administration and police the most about Nodeep Kaur was her call and vision for the unity of farmers and workers. She had joined the farmers’ protest and was actively a part of it, along with her organization. She had regularly called for ‘kisan mazdoor ekta’, and had told in an interview, “Farmers and labourers are inseparable. Workers produce in the factories and farmers produce in the fields. The government is selling us, our work, our livelihood to make money for themselves.”
MAS and Nodeep had been agitating against the exploitation of workers at KIA, which had resulted in their facing harassment from the Quick Response Team (QRT), who according to workers is meant for the purpose of intimidating and breaking any attempts at unionisation. She was further threatened and later fired from her job for participating in the farmers’ protests.
According to her sister, Nodeep was arrested on January 12 from the MAS tent at the Singhu border and dragged away in cuffs. She was taken to the Karnal police station. This was as a result of the attacks by QRT the same day, which had also fired shots ten days before at the protesting workers at KIA.