Jagjot Kaur: #ReleaseNodeepKaur

I dedicate this article to the brave, Nodeep Kaur and every Sikh woman who came before us

Jagjot Kaur
February 4, 2021 | 5 min. read

I dedicate this article to the brave, Nodeep Kaur and every Sikh woman who came before us.

Nodeep Kaur is a 23-year-old Sikh, Dalit woman, and activist from Sri Muktsar Sahib, Punjab.  She and her family have dedicated their entire lives to farmer and labor rights. Her parents are involved in the Punjab Khet Majdoor Union, her older sister Rajveer Kaur is a student activist in the Bhagat Singh Students’ Front of Delhi, and Nodeep Kaur is an active member of the Majdoor Adhikar Sangathan (MAS). 

After she began working at the bulb-making factory, FIEM Industries, in the Kundli Industrial Area (KIA), Nodeep Kaur joined MAS to fight for labor rights in Kundli. Her work revolves around the fight against the unpaid dues of laborers, and specifically, the exploitation of women laborers.

Since December 6, 2020, Nodeep Kaur has played a significant role in the mobilization of laborers, and the unity between labor unions at both Kundli and Singhu Borders. In an interview by Opia Films, days before Nodeep Kaur’s arrest, she said, “Farmers and laborers are inseparable. Workers produce in the factories and farmers produce in the fields.”

On January 12, 2021, Haryana Police arrived at the MAS tent at Singhu Border, abducted Nodeep Kaur, and dragged her away in handcuffs. In an interview with Sabrang India, Nodeep Kaur’s sister, Rajveer Kaur said,  

“And we know this [arrests etc] happens to whoever raises their voice against the system. That is what has happened to my sister. She was arrested on January 12. We are Dalit, and women and we stand up for what is right. Even my mother was jailed once, because she stood up for those women who were exploited by the upper caste when they went to work in farms. Nothing has changed till now. We are all a part of the farmers movement as well. There were a lot of issues being faced by laborers. Nodeep [along with others] was there in solidarity with the farmers, since the agitation first reached there in December.” 

Nodeep Kaur was taken to the Kundli police station and booked in three FIRs under sections of the Indian Penal Code. Her alleged crimes range from rioting while armed with a deadly weapon to extortion to attempt to murder. According to Advocate Jitendar Kumar, Nodeep Kaur’s lawyer, all three FIRs were filed entirely based on statements made by a Haryana Police officer, the accountant of a KIA factory, M/S Elecmech Pvt. Ltd, which has failed to pay its laborers’ wages, and a private complainant.

In an interview by The Citizen, activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) at Singhu Border said,

“This was followed by brutal custodial violence by male police officers including targeting her genitals amounting to sexual violence. She is currently in judicial custody in Karnal Jail without adequate medical care. This arrest comes following the targeting of a workers organization named Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan (MAS) in KIA. MAS has been at the forefront of forging solidarity between workers and the struggling peasantry at Singhu Border.”

Advocate Jitendar Kumar and Rajveer Kaur, both confirmed that Nodeep Kaur has been physically and sexually assaulted while under the custody of Haryana Police. Her older sister Rajveer Kaur stated,

“She was beaten brutally by the police and had bruises on her back, feet and also the private parts. We had approached the Sonepat Court for her medical examination for which the orders have been passed. We will be taking a delegation to meet the local Superintendent of Police. The next date of hearing is on January 25 where we are seeking the quashing of the fabricated FIRs against her and her immediate release.” 

The medical examination conducted after her arrest by Haryana Police revealed there are wounds on Nodeep Kaur’s body and private parts. 

On January 25, 2021 and February 2, 2021, Nodeep Kaur’s bail pleas were rejected and the Judge stated that more evidence will be presented by Haryana Police. Her next bail hearing is scheduled for February 8, 2021. Nodeep Kaur remains in jail under the custody of Haryana Police.

I ask you all to keep Nodeep Kaur in your prayers, and demand for her immediate release. 

The targeted abduction and assault of Nodeep Kaur is a tactic that has been employed by the Government of India to malign the protest against Modi’s three Farm Bills, and specifically, impede the growing unity between farmers and laborers. The Sikh Kaum, however, has borne witness to this tactic since the 1980s.

Months after Operation Bluestar in June of 1984, the Indian Armed Forces carried out Operation Shudhee Karan to rape Sikh women in an attempt to permanently mutate the genetic makeup of Sikhs. The Government of India and Indian Armed Forces believed that by raping Sikh women they would be able to kill the Sikh Sangarsh, and the eternal, Baghi Ja Badshah spirit of the Sikh Kaum. They failed.

On March 8, 1991, in a Sikh village, SSP Gobind Ram stated, 

“If any action occurs in this village, every single male is going to be taken out and shot. Then we’re going to take all the women to our camp and there we’re going to create a new breed for Punjab.” 

The mental, physical, and sexual assault of Sikh women were further used by the Indian Armed Forces in 3 ways: 1) to interrogate and obtain information about Sikhs fighting in the Sangarsh, 2) to torture husbands, brothers, and fathers, and 3) to humiliate families and often, entire villages. 

From October 1991 to January 1992, Shaheed Bibi Amandeep Kaur Ji, the sister of Shaheed Bhai Harpinder Singh Ji of Khalistan Commando Force, was abducted, raped, tortured, and killed by Punjab Police. 

The following are excerpts taken from the statement written by Shaheed Bibi Amandeep Kaur Ji, in October 1991. She stated, 

“[SSP] Kahlon then started abusing my husband and father. He took hold of a lathi to beat the two. It was then the turn of his subordinates who beat us with their leather belts. The SSP ordered that my husband and father slap each other.

After Kahlon left, we were brought back to the police station. While my husband and father were put in the lock-up, I was kept out for maltreatment [for sexual assault].

After eight days, the three of us were removed from Boha to CIA Bathinda. My mother and I were released from three weeks of illegal detention. My father was kept in CIA Bathinda and at Phul and was produced in a court on November 30. A case was registered against him.

I have gone underground to escape further humiliation and torture because the SSP Kahlon is after me, for unknown reasons. Because of the “treatment” given to my husband, he has left me and does not wish to keep me as his wife any longer.”

Shaheed Bibi Amandeep Kaur Ji stayed in hiding until January 21, 1992. After the release of her father, Punjab Police falsely declared that all harassment of Shaheed Bibi Amandeep Kaur Ji and her family would cease. At 7:30 PM, two masked gunmen on behalf of SSP Kahlon shot Shaheed Bibi Amandeep Kaur Ji dead and blessed her with the highest ranks of Shaheedi. 

The roots of Sikhi are watered by the bravery, the blood, and the love of the Sikh women that came before us. Sikh women and the Sikh Kaum will never be destroyed.

From the 1980s to Present Day, thousands of Sikh women, like Shaheed Bibi Amandeep Kaur Ji, have been abducted, assaulted, and/or killed by the Indian Armed Forces. The Government of India is a fascist regime that exists solely because of its exploitation and mistreatment of minorities, and specifically, of women. 

The Government of India, the Judiciary of India, KIA, and Haryana Police have already gone to dangerous lengths to silence the Sikh, Dalit woman, and activist, Nodeep Kaur. 

I ask you all to keep Nodeep Kaur in your prayers, and demand for her immediate release. 

Jagjot Kaur is a second-year medical student in New York, she hails from Fatehgarh Sahib, Punjab. You can find Jagjot Kaur on Twitter @jagjotkaur_.

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