The family of jailed activist Nodeep Kaur has said they will move the High Court of Punjab and Haryana for her release, reported The Indian Express reported on Sunday. Kaur, who has been in custody for about a month for protesting against the controversial farm laws, was denied bail on Wednesday by a Sessions Court in Sonipat.
Kaur, a member of the Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan, was arrested on January 12. She had participated in the farm law protests at Delhi’s borders and is charged under Section 307 (attempt to murder) as well as for extortion.
Her sister Rajvir has alleged that the activist was assaulted by the police when she was in their custody. “The allegations against my sister are false,” Rajvir said. “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.”
The arrest and the alleged torture of Kaur gained attention on Saturday after Meena Harris, the niece of United States Vice President Kamala Harris, tweeted about her. “Weird to see a photo of yourself burned by an extremist mob but imagine what they would do if we lived in India,” Meena Harris tweeted. “I’ll tell you—23 year labor rights activist Nodeep Kaur was arrested, tortured and sexually assaulted in police custody. She’s been detained without bail for over 20 days.”
Advocate Amit Shrivastav, who has been working with Kaur’s family in the case, also alleged that the activist had been beaten up by police personnel at the station.
The police, however, have denied the allegations “being circulated on social media platforms about illegal detention and harassment”, terming it as an “afterthought”.
The police claimed that the activist was kept in the ladies’ waiting room “for the entire time and was accompanied by two female police personnel for the entire duration of her stay”.
Kaur’s lawyer Jitendar Kumar has said that a medical examination was asked after she was arrested, reported News18. He claimed that 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.
However, the police claimed that Kaur had refused a “special medical examination” by a lady doctor for sexual assault, saying she does not want to be examined as she was not assaulted.
The police also said that Kaur did not mention allegations of sexual assault to the chief judicial magistrate before she was taken to Karnal jail.
The police said Kaur and other members of the Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan were trying to break into a factory in Kundli for the purpose of “illegal extortion under the garb of workers’ unpaid salaries”.
The police further alleged that when they tried to mediate, members of the Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan attacked them, leading to seven officers sustaining injuries.
Sessions Judge YS Rathor had denied her bail, saying that there were two first information reports lodged against her. “In view of the gravity of offence, the applicant does not deserve concession of bail and bail application is dismissed,” the judgement read.