US Vice President Kamala Harris' niece, Meena Harris' tweet has drawn international attention to the arrest and alleged sexual assault of a young Indian activist and trade unionist who was protesting the unstable wage payment in an industrial cluster near Delhi.
Navdeep Kaur, also known as Nodeep Kaur, is a 23-year-old Dalit activist. She was held on January 12 after a demonstration in front of metal-cutting firm Sharan Elecmech in Haryana’s Kundli Industrial Area.
The 23-year-old is facing charges of attempt to murder, extortion and other offences and has twice been refused bail.
Weird to see a photo of yourself burned by an extremist mob but imagine what they would do if we lived 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. pic.twitter.com/Ypt2h1hWJz— Meena Harris (@meenaharris) February 5, 2021
According to reports, she was protesting close to the Singhu border, where thousands of farmers' have been protesting Centre's contentious farm laws. Kaur had delivered speeches at the Singhu border as well.
Meena Harris claimed that Nodeep Kaur is being “tortured and sexually assaulted” in police custody. She also pressed on the issue that Kaur has been in custody for the last 20 days.
Nodeep was denied bail on February 2, her next hearing is on February 8, 2021.
Rajveer Kaur, Nodeep's sister visited her in Karnal jail and said that the 23-year-old has been brutally assaulted in custody by male police officers and has injuries on her private parts.
We are all deeply concerned about #NodeepKaur ! A female activist in India— ravinder singh (@RaviSinghKA) February 6, 2021
She was arrested by Delhi police, we are hearing reports of sexual abuse in custody! @AmnestyUK @hrw @meenaharris #FarmersProtest https://t.co/WPehYrZfEu
Their lawyer said that the medical reports have confirmed the same.
Nodeep, who is a member of Mazdoor Adhikar Sanghatan (MAS), cleared class 12th a few years ago and started working at a bulb-making factory in Kundli, Noida.
As per Rajveer, her sister was saving up to pursue higher studies. As a member of MAS, Nodeep has been working to build farmers and labourer solidarity.
We are extremely concerned for safety and well being of young female activist #NodeepKaur who was arrested by @DelhiPolice last week. She has suffered abuse in custody— Khalsa Aid (@Khalsa_Aid) February 6, 2021
We appeal to the global human rights groups to seek her immediate release. @hrw @amnesty @cnni @Malala pic.twitter.com/OT575LRuS4
Many Dalit, Ambedkarite activists and people vocal about the farms protests are trying to bring attention to Nodeep's arrest and custodial violence she has faced in Haryana jail.
Nodeep’s case started garnering significant media attention after poet Rupi Kaur tweeted in support on January 30.
Many people have now come out in support of Nodeep and are demanding her release using the hashtag #ReleaseNodeepKaur.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine