The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday issued a notice of motion to the Haryana government, taking suo motu cognisance of complaints regarding the alleged illegal confinement of trade union activist Nodeep Kaur, Live Law reported.
A bench of Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi said it was taking up anonymous complaints it received on the matter on February 6 and 8 and asked the Haryana Police to explain the complaint filed against Kaur, according to NDTV. The matter will next be heard on February 24.
Kaur was arrested on January 12 and sent to judicial custody after being charged under Indian Penal Code Sections 384 (extortion), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), and 149 (unlawful assembly), for taking part in a protest, where she along with other members of her organisation Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan ghearoed an industrial unit in Haryana’s Kundli town. Kaur’s family has alleged that she was sexually harassed in prison, even though the police has denied the claims.
On Thursday, she got bail in one of the three cases filed against her. She is still in custody in Haryana’s Karnal jail because of other charges.
Meanwhile, the Haryana State Commission for Women on Saturday sought a report from Sonepat Superintendent of Police Jashandeep Singh Randhawa, taking cognisance of the alleged physical assault on Kaur in jail, The Tribune reported.
“I came here to meet Nodeep after taking cognisance of media reports that she was assaulted in custody,” said Preeti Bhardwaj, officiating chairperson of the commission. “I also inquired about the allegations from her. A report in this regard has been sought from the Sonepat SP.”
Earlier, the police had said that the allegations were an “afterthought”, according to Live Law.
“She [Kaur] did not raise the issue of assault by police officers either before the medical officer or the chief judicial magistrate,” the police said in a statement. “Thus, the allegations put forward by the accused or her lawyer seems to be an afterthought and the police department clearly negates the said allegation.”
The arrest and the alleged torture of Kaur gained attention last week 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.”