My bail is not a victory: Nodeep Kaur

Activist Nodeep Kaur addressing the media at the press club in New Delhi on Monday, March 01, 2021.   | Photo Credit: MOORTHY RV

Trade union activist Nodeep Kaur, who was arrested on January 12 after a demonstration to demand workers’ wages in Haryana’s Kundli, on Monday said her release on bail last week was not a victory.

Addressing a press conference here, Ms. Kaur said, “My case is still on, we haven’t won yet. The Dalits and workers still sleep on empty stomachs. Our wages are still with companies.”

Ms. Kaur said she and fellow activists of the Mazdoor Adhikar Sanghathan had been holding protests to demand the “lockdown wages” of workers in the Kundli industrial area. She said she was arrested after one such protest, where she alleged police dragged her by her hair and roughed her up. Once in jail, the young Dalit woman said she was subjected to casteist abuse.

‘We had only flags’

Denying the charges of attempt to murder and extortion against her and other unionists, Ms. Kaur said the workers were carrying flags, not weapons. “Whoever raises their voice gets labeled as anti-national and is jailed. It shows that the state is afraid. We don’t even have the freedom to distribute pamphlets. The state is afraid of a so-called ‘weak’ Dalit girl,” she said.

Ms. Kaur said while the workers had been protesting for months, it was when they decided to show solidarity with the ongoing farmers’ agitation that things changed. “Their [the state] fear is that we are with the farmers,” she said.

She said the farmers and workers’ protests against the farm laws and new labour codes required mass support.

Earlier, during the press conference, Rajbir, the father of Shiv Kumar, the Mazdoor Adhikar Sanghathan president who remains in jail in the same case, said his son had been beaten and tortured in jail.

Other speakers at the press conference, which was organised by a group of trade union and civil society organisations, called for the immediate release of Mr. Kumar.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2021 7:59:39 PM |

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