Eastern Times, New Delhi : Condemning the continued incarceration of 24-year-old dalit woman worker, Nodeep Kaur, hailing from a landless peasant family in Punjab by the Haryana Police on a motley of fabricated charges, for daring to demand the rights of workers to unpaid wages, democratic rights organisations, trade unions, peasant organisations and student activists came together demanding her immediate release and cessation of targeting of a workers organisation, the Majdoor Adhikar Sanghatan (MAS) in the Kundli Industrial Area.
The press conference was addressed by Nodeep Kaur’s sister Rajveer Kaur, Shavinder Singh of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Krantikari), Ravinder of the Bharatiya Kisan Panchayat, Darbara Singh of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), Urmila of the All India Revolutionary Women’s Organisation, Sanjiv Mathur of the Bahajun Samajwadi Manch and Tuhin Deb of the Trade Union Centre of India.
Rajveer spoke of how Nodeep was arrested and tortured, physically and sexually while in custody. This was revealed when she visited a beaten but unbroken Nodeep in jail on 13 January 2021.
Rajveer said that the rationale behind Nodeep’s arrest was to stop the work of Majdoor Adhikaar Sanghatan which had ensured payment of unpaid wages to near 300 workers in Kundli.
This the police deems extortion. Furthermore, what frightened the police and the Kundli Industrial Association was the growinng solidarity between workers and the peasantry at Singhu Border and threat it posed to the Corporate State Nexus. Majdoor Adhikar Sanghatan and Nodeep in particular took the lead in forging this unity.
Ravinder of the Bharatiya Kisan Panchayat spoke of low wages received by workers in Haryana, often even less than the paltry minimum wage of Rs. 9300 per month.
Furthermore, he mentioned how often workers die crossing the highway at Kundli and in the factories due to poor safety mechanisms. He stated that the peasantry stands with workers and how his organisation completely supports Nodeep and the Majdoor Adhikaar Sanghatan.
Shavinder Singh of the Bharatiya Kisan Union Krantikari strongly condemned the arrest of Nodeep Kaur. He spoke of how the private armed force of the Kundli Industrial Association is protected by the Haryana Police.
Darbara Singh of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) remarked on the mass support that the workers’ struggle has among the peasantry.
He even said that all workers are originally farmers. He demanded the immediate release of Nodeep Kaur stating that she and the others of Majdoor Adhikaar Sanghatan were only struggling for their rights.
Urmila of the All India Revolutionary Women’s Organisation spoke of how the police infantalised and patronised her and the other women who went to the police station to enquire about Nodeep’s arrest.
Calling Nodeep’s arrest a conspiracy, Urmila declared that Nodeep has been falsely implicated and that these types of cases are often foisted on militant dalit and workers.
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Sanjiv Mathur contrasted the treatment of Nodeep with the government’s claims of empowering women through Beti-Bachao-Beti-Padao.
Drawing a parallel with the rape and murder in Hathras, the situated the sexual violence suffered by Nodeep in the casteist Brahmanical nature of the State and Indian Society.
Tuhin Deb of the Trade Union Centre of India spoke of the nexus between the police, mafia, the Hindu Jagriti Manch and the employers’ goons namely the Quick Response Team.
This is mainly to aid in profiteering and the loot of workers. He remarked on the spate of anti-women legislation, noting the love-jihad legislation in Uttar Pradesh and the moral policing occurring in Madhya Pradesh.
All speakers in unison demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Nodeep, the dropping of the false FIRs and the immediate payment of wages to workers in Kundli.
They further mentioned that a delegation of the Kisan Unions will soon meet the Sonipet Superintendent of Police regarding Nodeep’s case.
The press conference concluded with appeals to democratic sections of society to come together, demand the immediate release of Nodeep Kaur, cessation of the targeting of trade unions like Majdoor Adhikaar Sanghatan, repeal of anti-worker labour codes and repeal of anti-peasant Farm Laws alongside calls for a united struggle for democracy in the face of state repression. A signature campaign was launched demanding the release of Nodeep Kaur.