#Dalit Women India

Dalit Activist Nodeep Kaur Recounts “Harrowing” Experience In Jail

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Dalit activist Nodeep Kaur, who was granted bail last month after her arrest by Haryana Police on January 12 from Singhu Border, has opened up about her time spent in prison. Alleging custodial torture, Kaur told the press that police used “abusive language” against her and that she had to face “harassment” for being a Dalit woman.

The 24-year-old is a Dalit speaker and labour leader who had been taken into custody on multiple charges, including attempt to murder. As per reports, her bail petition alleged she had been beaten up in police custody with her medical reports showing injuries on her thighs and buttocks. The Punjab and Haryana High Court, raising questions over her “illegal confinement” had issued her bail on February 26.

“Your job is to clean the gutters. Who gave you the right to organize protests against big people?” – activist Nodeep Kaur recalls police’s words

Activist Nodeep Kaur Says Condition Of Women In Jails Is “Horrific”

Speaking to OutlookKaur recalled the day of her arrest: “They pulled my hair and dragged me into the van and I was beaten up inside the van also. They slapped and hit me with shoes and sticks on my private parts. I was bleeding heavily after that.” She has previously also claimed that no women officers were present during her arrest, as is the law.

“The police were miffed that I stood up to the rich and powerful. I believe I had to face the harassment of being a Dalit woman and a trade union worker. Is it a crime to organize and demand our rights?” she asked.

Kaur has even denounced the condition of women in jails, saying there were more than 200 inmates in the cell she was kept in. “The condition of female inmates in jail is horrific. When I described my harrowing experience to other jail mates, they weren’t surprised… I was shocked to listen to their stories, the violence they had endured.”

“Falsely Implicated” On Criminal Charges, Activist Claims

On January 12, activist Nodeep Kaur was protesting in the Kundli industrial area with twenty others, demanding wages, and reportedly had faced clashes with the police after which she was arrested. She was faced with as many as eleven criminal charges.

Her bail plea mentioned she was “targeted and falsely implicated in the matter as she was successful in generating massive support in favour of the Farmers’ movement.” Her case garnered international attention when on February 6 Meena Harris, niece of US Vice-President Kamala Harris, tweeted about her arrest and alleged sexual assault.

“This has not happened to me alone, there are a lot of women who are raped, they are treated badly in police custody. Police harasses Dalit women even outside jail. Women, irrespective of any caste and class, are treated like this,” activist Nodeep Kaur tells The Caravan after her release. People need to come forward and demand action against such policemen.”