Dalit labour rights activist
HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India dated February 8, 2021, regarding the illegal arrest, torture, and assault of Ms. Nodeep Kaur by Haryana police. Ms. Kaur has been working as a worker in a factory in the Kundli Industrial Area (KIA) and also an activist associated with Mazdoor Aadhikar Sangathan (MAS) working against discrimination in wages and exploitation of women workers.
The workers of Kundli took out a march on December 28, 2020, demanding the release of their pending wages. During the march, bouncers of KIA assaulted the workers and one of the bouncers even opened fire on the ground to intimidate the workers. The KIA president Mr. Subhas Gupta lodged an FIR on the same day against workers specifically naming Ms. Kaur and others accusing workers of extortion of money.
Workers under the leadership of MAS conducted a strike again demanding pending wages on January 12, 2021. The KIA’s quick response team came and assaulted the workers and a police team led by Station House Officer (SHO) Kundli police station came to the spot and lathi-charged the workers. Ms. Kaur was attacked by the KIA team and was taken to the Kundli police station by the police team. When her lawyers visited the police station, they were told that she was taken to appear before the magistrate. Her family members, later on, came to know from the office Superintendent of Police, Sonipat, that she was taken to Karnal Jail and was in judicial custody for 14 days. Two FIRs were registered against the workers, naming Ms. Kaur and others, booking them under several penal provisions under Indian Penal Code, ranging from rioting to attempt to murder. Ms. Kaur claimed that she was brutally tortured by police, both men and women, and even hit at her private parts while in police custody. This was confirmed in the medical reports.
The custodial torture of Ms. Kaur and assault on her private parts completely violate DK Basu guidelines on the arrest. The action of the Haryana police is in violation of the Indian Constitution and multiple national and international human rights norms on arrest and torture.