Police respond to Nodeep Kaur’s bail plea in HC: ‘No mention of assault in custody’

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Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh |
Updated: February 25, 2021 9:06:09 am

Nodeep Kaur (23), a Dalit labour activist, was arrested in January. (Express Photo)

Refuting labour rights activist Nodeep Kaur’s allegations that she was physically assaulted in police as well as judicial custody, Haryana Police on Wednesday submitted in the Punjab and Haryana High Court that during her stay at Kundli police station, Kaur did not raise any such matter either in front of the medical officer or the chief judicial magistrate (CJM). The police also submitted that Nodeep made a “proactive speech” stating that they would “attack police”, before her arrest.

Kaur had in her bail plea — filed through her counsel, senior advocate R S Cheema and Arshdeep Singh Cheema — before HC claimed that she was severely beaten up at a police station after her arrest by the Sonipat police last month.

The 23-year-old activist, a member of the Majdoor Adhikar Sangathan and hailing from Punjab’s Muktsar district, had also claimed that her medical examination was not conducted in violation of section 54 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had on Monday adjourned the hearing on her bail plea and posted the matter for Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the bench of Justice Avneesh Jhingan stated that, vide order January 18, 2021, Judicial Magistrate First Class, Sonipat, had ordered that Nodeep Kaur be medically examined. “She was medically examined but the said report has not been placed on record by the State…only medico-legal report under Section 54 Cr.P.C. is placed on record,” said the bench. After the state counsel sought short time to place the medico-legal report on record, the HC adjourned the matter for hearing on February 26.

On the other hand, a detailed affidavit submitted by Haryana Police DSP Virender Singh before the bench of Justice Jhingan, said “…information was received in Police Station Kundli, Sonipat, on January 12, 2021, regarding gherao of an Industrial Unit namely, M/s Shahran Elecmech Pvt. Ltd. Plot No 349 Phase-4 Sector 57 HSSIDC Kundli and manhandling of staff/management by certain members of Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan. The complaint referred to illegal extortion of money from the factory owners by the activists, under the garb of workers unpaid salaries. That Nodeep Kaur was one of the agitators and she made a proactive speech whereby she stated that they will attack and beat the police if they arrive on the spot today…”

The Haryana Police along with the affidavit, have also submitted a video recording in HC, wherein Nodeep Kaur is delivering the alleged speech.

It has been further submitted by Haryana Police that upon receiving the information of the incident, a police team including SHO PS Kundli reached the spot, and tried to mediate between the two sides. However, “the agitators got violent and started beating the police officials with lathis and sticks without any provocation”. “…As a result of these blows, seven police personnel including a lady constable Reeta, 1154/SPT sustained serious injuries…By the time our police personnel could re-orient themselves, most of the culprits had run away. However, they succeeded in nabbing Nodeep Kaur from the spot…”

The Haryana Police affidavit further mentions, “During the interrogation, she disclosed that she along with her associates Shiv Kumar s/o Rajbir, Sumit s/o Dhanpat residents of Devru, Ashish r/0 Mukimpur and Sahil r/o Badwasni had formed a union in the name of ‘Majdoor Adhikar Sangthan’ and they took brokerage from the labourers for providing them salary etc from the factory owners and also extort money from the owners.”

Regarding Kaur’s allegations that she was physically assaulted, the Haryana Police have submitted that “she was taken to the police station and kept in ladies’ waiting room accompanied by two female police personnel for the entire duration of her stay. From police station, she was taken to Civil Hospital, Sonipat, the same day within couple of hours after arrest for the mandatory medical examination. She underwent not just a general medical examination but also a special medical examination by a lady doctor Ikba Medical Officer G.H. Sonipat for sexual assault where she gave a written statement to the female doctor that she doesn’t want to be medically examined as she has not been assaulted on January 12, 2021”.

The police affidavit also said that Kaur produced before the CJM within a few hours of her arrest for her judicial remand, and was escorted by two women police officials. “Here again, she did not disclose/mention anything about any assault by police officials to the learned magistrate,” added the reply.

The Haryana Police said that as per directions of the magistrate, she was taken to Karnal Jail that very night, accompanied by two women police officials, for judicial custody, and has been lodged in the jail for last one month, and police did not seek any remand in the case.

“False allegations are being made through few social media platforms that Nodeep Kaur was falsely implicated and arbitrarily detained by the police. All these claims and allegations are baseless and have been refuted by district police,” said Haryana Police in reply.

Kaur is facing three cases, including charges of attempt to murder and extortion.

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