India World

Nodeep Kaur: Indian court grants bail to labour rights activist

An Indian court granted bail to Nodeep Kaur, a 25-year-old labour rights activist who has been in prison for more than a month.

Ms Kaur was arrested on 12 January when she was protesting outside a factory on the outskirts of the capital, New Delhi.

Her arrest lead to global outrage given the circumstances in which she was picked up amid accusations of sexual assault and torture.

Police in Haryana state strongly denied assaulting her.

Nodeep was accused in three separate cases and was charged under sections of the law that deal with attempt to murder, extortion, rioting, unlawful assembly and criminal intimidation. She had been granted bail in two of the cases earlier.

Meena Harris, niece of American Vice President Kamala Harris, tweeted calling for her release.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court was expected to decided her bail plea on Wednesday, but it was deferred to Friday after the authorities failed to submit her medical examination report in court.

“The petitioner is in custody since 12.1.2021. Albeit the matter is under investigation, but that itself would not be reasons to deny personal liberty to the petitioner,” Justice Avneesh Jhingan said in his order granting bail.

The high court had also started another case, asking the police in Haryana state to explain her “illegal confinement” after the chief justice received emails alleging torture in custody.

Nodeep comes from a poor Dalit family (who are placed at the bottom of India’s repressive caste hierarchy).

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