Days after Punjab and Haryana High Court granted bail to Dalit labour rights activist Nodeep Kaur, the 24-year-old spoke about the police brutality she faced while in prison.
Nodeep claimed that she was physically tortured and the cops used casteist slurs to intimidate her.
Sonipat Police arrested her on January 12 in connection with a case filed under attempt to murder and some other charges, including allegedly gheraoing an industrial unit and demanding money from the company.
During an interaction with Outlook India, Nodeep shared the traumatic experience she had undergone in the 46 days she spent in the prison.
The Dalit labour rights activist said, "While torturing me, the police kept saying that I am a Dalit and I should behave like one. 'Your job is to clean the gutters. Who gave you the right to organize protests against big people?' I was asked. They used abusive language to intimidate me. 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."
She termed the condition of female inmates in jail as horrific. Nodeep said, "The condition of female inmates in jail is horrific. When I described my harrowing experience to other jail mates, they weren’t surprised. In fact, they said what I had gone through was nothing. I was shocked to listen to their stories, the violence they had endured. There were more than 200 women in the cell where I was kept. They were put in jail for minor charges, most of them belonged to poor and backward communities."
Talking about her case, Nodeep claimed she has done nothing wrong and that police have no evidence against her.
"They abused me, pulled my hair, slapped me and made me sign papers forcefully. I couldn't even walk," she alleged.
However, police have denied the charge as "baseless".
Nodeep's arrest received global attention after Meena Harris, niece of American Vice President Kamala Harris, tweeted saying the activist was "arrested, tortured & sexually assaulted in police custody".
A medical examination of Kumar conducted by a Chandigarh-based hospital has found two fractures on his hand and foot along with some broken nail beds on his toe.
Raise voice for the release of Shiv Kumar, says Nodeep Kaur
On February 27, a day after she was granted bail, labour rights activist Nodeep Kaur urged people to raise voice for the release of Shiv Kumar, who is a co-accused in criminal cases registered against Nodeep.
Shiv Kumar, president of Majdoor Adhikar Sanghathan, was held a few days after the arrest of labour rights activist Nodeep.
"Shiv Kumar is in jail even today. No one is talking about him. He is innocent. He was severely beaten up by the police, his bones are broken. I request people to raise voice for his bail as well," said Nodeep during a press conference at Singhu border on Saturday.
(With Inputs From PTI)