Punjab and Haryana high court grants bail to labour activist Nodeep Kaur
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday granted bail to labour activist Nodeep Kaur who was arrested in Kundli on the Delhi-Haryana border on January 12.
Kaur had been demonstrating in solidarity with farmers, who have been protesting against the Central government’s three contentious agricultural laws for three months now.
However, the police have accused her of extorting industrialists for money and inciting workers during the protest. The police said that on January 12, a unit in Kundli was gheraoed and its staff was manhandled by members of Kaur’s group. A complaint was lodged against the activists for allegedly extorting the factory owner for money on the pretext of providing workers their unpaid salaries. The police accused her of making provocative speeches during the protest that resulted in clashes and injuries to seven police personnel, including a woman constable. Kaur was arrested the same day.
“The high court has granted bail to Nodeep Kaur,” her counsel Arshdeep Singh Cheema said. The detailed order is awaited.
Kaur had moved the high court, seeking bail on February 22.
Three first information reports (FIR) were registered against her, one on December 28 and two on January 12. She has already got bail from the lower courts in cases related to two of the FIRs.The high court order paves the way for her release from judicial custody.
The FIR dated December 28 was also registered under sections of the Indian Penal Code for causing hurt, criminal intimidation and rioting on a complaint regarding a private industrial unit being gheraod by some workers.In the complaint, the unit’s owner alleged that the workers misbehaved with him and tried to extort him for money.
Activist alleges assault, but police deny charge
In her plea, Kaur alleged that she was framed and physically assaulted by the police. Her counsel argued that the FIRs revealed a larger conspiracy and that the criminal cases were slapped against her because she was trying to mobilise labourers in Kundli’s industrial units to join the farmers’ protest against the three new controversial farm laws.
Haryana Police denied that Kaur was assaulted.
Police said that during her interrogation, she admitted that she and her associates, Shiv Kumar and Sahil, had formed an organisation called Majdoor Adhikar Sangathan, and had taken “brokerage” from labourers to get them their salaries from factory owners, and then extorted the owners for money.