Post Mortem

‘silencing’ young india via exaggerated charges

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 3/3/2021 12:40:02 PM IST

 In support of the farmers’ agitation many whoever concerned about the struggles of the farmers have been extending their support and solidarity. One such persons is a 23-year of Dalit labour activist Nodeep Kaur while expressing her support to the farmers’ struggle has been arrested and in police custody on January 12th, 2021 and was out on bail on the 25th of February for more than a month. A member of Mazdoor AdhikarSangathan (MAS) Union, Nodeep Kaur joined farmers’ protest at Singhu to air grievances about alleged non-payment of salaries and harassment by employers.  

Until December 2020, this Punjabi activist worked at a bulb-making factor in the Kundi Industrial Area (KIA) in Sonapat, which lies just about three kilometres from the Singhu Delhi-Haryana border. She had to leave as she was not paid her wages and so decided to join the protest.She was arrest from Singhu Border on January 12 and is reported to have been alleged “tortured and sexually assaulted” in police custody. None of her family members knew where she was being taken to. Later, it was revealed that she has been detained in Karnal jail. 

Ever since her arrest, the young Dalit labourer has become the symbol of labour rights’ campaign that runs parallel to the farmers’ protest. In recent times,that the Government of India, to silence the Young India employsits brute force via the police force by arresting and registering FIRs that runs to many offences that have not been committed. 

In the caseof Nodeep Kaur, the Haryana police have filed two FIRs against her in connection with alleged violence in KIA on 12th January, 2021, where the charges invoked include the non-bailable sections 307, 384 and 379 of the Indian Penal Code – attempt to murder, extortion and theft respectively.Is it due to the gravity of the case or sheer ignorance, the police filed two FIRs?

Her sister Rajveer Kaur had visited Nodeep in Karnal jail and saw that Nodeep had been hurt in her genitals. She also claimed that Nodeep has been assaulted in police custody. This is the face of the brute police that silences those who raises their voices for justice and equality. 

Her lawyer also claimed that a medical examination has shown wounds on Kaur’s body and private parts. The pattern we see in all these is similar and those arrested and tortured are young. She being a Dalit would have undergone severe torture and meted out unbearable assaults.    As Indian society is premised on the system of caste this case has assumed global importance. For instance, the US Vice-President, Kamala Harris’ niece and lawyer, Meena Harris, tweeted about Kaur and demanded her release. Meena emphasised on the issue that Nodeep Kaur has been in custody for the last 20-days. She also claimed that Kaur is being “tortured and sexually assaulted” in police custody. Incidentally, the Punjab and Haryana high court on the 26th of February, 2021, granted regular bail to labour activist Nodeep Kaur in the attempt to murder case lodged against her by Haryana police for allegedly attacking policemen.

The High Court in its judgment observed that the slapping of attempt to murder, assault and other charges against Nodeep is a “debatable issue” and would be decided by the trial court.  Further, Justice Avneesh Jhingan noted that the right to peaceful protest is circumscribed by a thin line. 

“The crossing of the line may change the colour of protest. It would be the subject matter of trials as toe whether the line for the peaceful protest was cross in the alleged incident or not.” Granting bail to the petitioner, the court in its order said, “… It will suffice that the petitioner shall maintain restraint while being on bail to ensure that no law and order issue arises due to her actions.” 

Nodeep belongs to Gordpur village of Muktsar in Punjab has already been granted bail by a local court in Sonipat in another FIR registered against her bail petition. 

In her bail petition, her counsel had submitted that she along with some workers was on a peaceful protest outside the factory premises regarding non-payment of wages to some of the labourers when she was arrested.  

However, the report of the medical examination points out that “Purplish bruises of around 10x7cm present over the left thigh. Lateral aspect, bruises of around 5x6 cm over the right buttock” as prepared by Dr.Ibka Farooq, lady medical office (LMO), civil hospital, Sonipat, on January 25th following directions of Sonipat duty magistrate.  

However, the high court had taken the cognizance after receiving two e-mails regarding her alleged harassment by the police. 

The police in its reply to the high court notice claimed that she used to take brokerage from labourers to get factory owners to paytheir dues and also exhort money from factory owners. Police in recent times exaggerates while framing charges against the Young India. In reality their charges seem to contradict each other. In another case of an activist Shiv Kumar’s medical report indicated injuries caused by “torture”. 

What wrong did they do?  Did they violate the rights enshrined in the Constitution? Expressing solidarity with the farmers and those who are afflicted if considered going against the government or the State, then there is something wrong with the government. Charges like attempt to murder and sedition are debatable. 

In order to fabricate the charges, the law enforcing agencies are so intensely and increasingly go after the Young India in recent times and in their claims, we see a lot of exaggerated charges that manifests a lot of contradictions. After 45 days a Dalit activist Nodeep Kaur get bail.

As more activists secure their bail orders in recent times, it reveals that there’s something wrong somewhere. What does it indicate? It clearly signifies that the pattern followed by the State via GOI is similar that shows arrests and charges in indiscriminate manner. 

Many wonderas they read the charges that are directed towards Young India that points out and questions the excessive action that the police enforced that have no justification. It shows a clear line between the Young Activists versus the police/the government building up to backlash.

Supreme Court’s observation in the bail hearing of DHFL promoters Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhwan – that agencies are satisfied with keeping people behind bars “for some days” instead of fast trial and conviction – also points to warped priorities. 

Young India is coming of age as they want to build their India filled with freedom, liberty and equality. 

They are the guardians of democracy that enshrines freedom, fraternity and justice. As Justice Chandrachud observed while granting Arnab Goswami interim bail in Mumbai police’s abetment to suicide probe: “Liberty survives by the vigilance of her citizens, on the cacophony of the media and in the dusty corridors of courts alive to the rise of (and not by) law.”

As opined by Octavia Spencer: “Civil rights happened because youth got involved. The youth stood up and helped to break the pattern that their parents had got accustomed to living.” 

This is history and in which the Young India is engaging in setting rights the wrongs. In conjunction to this, Joseph Pulitzer rightly point out that “We are a democracy, and there is only one way to get a democracy on its feet … and that is by keeping the public informed about what is going on.”By fabricating and conniving the State via the governments employs its mechanisms to supress the freedoms that the citizens enjoy enshrined in the Constitution.

Dr. John Mohan Razu

 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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