Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday granted bail to labour rights activist Nodeep Kaur, who was arrested by the Haryana police on January 12 from Delhi’s Singhu border. Kaur was demonstrating in solidarity with farmers, who have been protesting against the central government’s three contentious agricultural laws for three months now, when she was arrested.
In her bail plea before the high court, Kaur had alleged that she was severely beaten up by the Haryana Police after her arrest. The 23-year-old, who is a member of the Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan (MAS), also accused the police of sexually assaulting her when she was in custody. Lodged in Karnal jail in the northern state, Kaur further argued in her plea that she was targeted and falsely implicated in the case as she had been able to generate massive support for the farmers protesting against the laws since November last year.
The Haryana police, in turn, had refuted her allegations of sexual or physical assault, instead accusing the activist of extorting money from industrialists in Sonipat’s Kundli and inciting workers during a protest on January 12, which, the police alleged, led to injuries to seven policemen.
Before coming to Delhi to participate in the anti-farm law protests, Kaur used to work at a factory in Kundli and was reportedly fired without being paid when she decided to join the protest.
American lawyer Meena Haris, the niece of US vice president Kamala Harris, tweeted in support of Kaur just as she had been for the ongoing farmers’ movement. “Weird to see a photo of yourself burned by an extremist mob but imagine what they would do if we live in India. I’ll tell you – 23 yo labor rights activist Nodeep Kaur was arrested, tortured & sexually assaulted in police custody. She’s been detained without bail for over 20 days,” Meena Harris had tweeted on February 5.