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The student newspaper of Imperial College London

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Felix

Issue 1764
The student newspaper of Imperial College London


Keep the Cat Free


Nodeep Kaur: Political Prisoner

#freenodeepkaur #releasenodeepkaur

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in Issue 1764

Nodeep Kaur is a 24-year-old Dalit woman who has been in jail for over 28 days. She was arrested on false charges and has been subjected to sexual abuse and other forms of torture by the police department. The Dalit labour rights activist and member of Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan (MAS) - one of the several worker unions openly protesting with farmers against the Indian Government’s three new bills - was arrested from the Singhu border on the 12th January, 2021. Her bails were rejected on the 25th January, 2021 and 2nd and 8th February, 2021.


...she was beaten up brutally by male police officers and had injury marks on her private parts.

After commencing work in the Kundli Industrial Area (KIA), in a factory named FIEM Industries, Nodeep Kaur joined MAS to demand better treatment for workers within the area. Her struggle encompasses the fight against employers harassing, exploiting, and failing to pay their labourers, especially those who are women. She has played a vital role in the organisation of the protests in Delhi, bringing over 2,000 to join the protests, and increasing the cohesion between labour unions at the Singhu and Kundli Borders. In an interview by Opia Films days before her arrest, she said, “Farmers and labourers are inseparable. Workers produce in the factories and farmers produce in the fields.”

“Nodeep Kaur comes from a family of fiercely politically active women. Our caste status and our economic deprivation taught us how to fight for our rights since our childhood. Nodeep [Kaur] is no different, she is a fighter,” explains Nodeep Kaur’s elder sister, Rajvir Kaur.

“When I went to meet her at Karnal jail a day after she was arrested, she had told me that she was beaten up brutally by male police officers and had injury marks on her private parts. We had immediately asked for a medical test to be done, the report of which will be submitted in court. We still have no clue what happened to that report.” said Rajvir.


When questioned on these allegations, police worker SP Jashandeep Singh Randhawa denied Rajvir’s claims of sexual assault on Nodeep Kaur, calling them “baseless.” This response was sadly expected, as often women and Dalit community issues are overlooked due to sexism and caste discrimination. The Indian police are notorious for sexual assault and torture, and with the system of impunity allowing them to boldly deny clear evidence, it is unfortunately very possible that Nodeep Kaur has indeed been subjected to sexual violence.

I ask you to keep all political prisoners in your prayers and further educate yourselves and others on the fascist Indian State. 

Three FIRs (arrest warrants) have been filed against Nodeep Kaur in connection with alleged violence. Specifically, they claim an attempt of murder, extortion and theft.

“On the 28th of December, when she and other members of MAS had gone to demand for their pending wages, police fired at the protestors. The police had also filed a counter FIR on the protesters. There was another protest held on the 12th of January after which Nodeep Kaur was targeted, arrested and charged with attempt to murder and extortion,” Rajvir Kaur said.

On the 12th of January, 2021, Nodeep Kaur was stopped and blamed by the police for leading a group of 50-60 MAS members. Rajvir Kaur explains, “After they barged into the MAS tent on the 12th of January and arrested her, there was no information given to the family members of her whereabouts till late that night when we found out from the police control room that she was sent to Karnal jail.”

Nodeep Kaur’s bail was rejected on the 25th of January 2021 and 2nd and 8th of February 2021. An online campaign to educate the public Nodeep Kaur’s plight as a political prisoner, and her fate at the hands of the appalling Delhi Police, has now commenced. Unfortunately, Nodeep Kaur is currently one of an estimated 200+ Sikhs who have been detained under suspicious circumstances during the farmers’ protest. As of yet, no mainstream Indian news outlet has covered Nodeep Kaur’s current situation, despite her plight spreading virally on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter.

As of the 11th of February, Nodeep Kaur was granted bail for one of the FIR’s, rejected in the second and has a petition pending for the third. She will only be released once she is granted bail on all three FIR’s.

One may think that the parallels between this case and the case of Jagtar (Jaggi) Singh Johal are uncanny. However, the disreputable nature of the Indian justice system, as well as the impunity with which the police are allowed to act, means that these cases are all too common. Jaggi is British citizen who helped to report the human rights abuses of the Indian state. He was abducted by the Indian police in 2017 whilst visiting India for his wedding and is currently also being held by the police for false murder charges. He has presented at over 150 court appearances to no avail.


“They made me sign blank pieces of paper and asked me to say certain lines in front of a camera under fear of extreme torture,” Jaggi said via his lawyer.


Many political prisoners are currently still facing time behind bars due to accusations of crimes they did not commit. Unfortunately, common within the minority demographic of India, I ask you to keep all political prisoners in your prayers and further educate yourselves and others on the Indian State.

#freenodeepkaur

#freejagginow #freeshivkumar #freejagtarhawara #freehardeepshera
#free*insert name of thousands of other political prisoners*

(Updated at 20/02/2021)

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