Dalit Labour Activist Nodeep Kaur granted bail by Punjab & Haryana Court

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CHANDIGARH, FEBRUARY 26: Dalit labour activist Nodeep Kaur, who was arrested on 12th January from a labourers’ protest at Kundli border point, was today granted bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in an attempt to murder case.

She has been lodged at a jail in Haryana’s Karnal. Ms Kaur had accused the police of sexual assault under custody, but the allegation was denied by authorities.

Following the court order, her advocate Harinder Deep Singh Bains told media persons today that the court will consider separately her allegation of illegal confinement by the police. It will also look at her medical records at a different date, he said.

“The court has said that there was nothing on record with regards to section 360. Therefore the High Court has ordered bail for Ms Kaur,” Mr Bains said. “It is with a restraint that no law and order situation be created. That is the only restriction.”

Nodeep Kaur was arrested over a labour protest demanding higher wages, which coincided with the ongoing farmers’ protests against three new central farm laws and was also in solidarity with it.

Following the arrest, the Muktsar native faced a slew of charges: murder, extortion, theft, rioting, unlawful assembly, extortion, and criminal intimidation. She was later granted bail in two cases of extortion and criminal intimidation.

The court had, on Wednesday, adjourned her case upon finding that all her medical reports had not been placed on record by the state. The court had earlier registered a suo motu case over her “illegal confinement”.

Her case gained international attention on February 6 when Meena Harris, niece of US Vice-President Kamala Harris, tweeted saying, “23-year-old labour rights activist Nodeep Kaur was arrested, tortured and sexually assaulted in police custody.”

Her tweet carried images of a mob in India burning her own photo and another of a masked woman holding up a poster demanding Ms Kaur’s release.

The Dalit activist’s sister, Rajveer Kaur, later alleged that Ms Kaur “has been beaten up in the police station by male staff and has even been sexually assaulted. There are injuries in her private parts. There should be strict action.”

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