Skip to main content

Target farmer-worker unity? Arrest of Dalit woman TU activist at Singhu border

Haryana TU activists supporting farmers' protest
Counterview Desk
Condemning the arrest and alleged custodial sexual violence faced by Nodeep Kaur, a trade union activist, the civil rights network* Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) has demanded her “immediate release” and “strict action against the Haryana Police for targeting workers in the Kundli Industrial Area.”
Calling this part of the harassment of trade union leaders who are supporting the farmers’ protest along Delhi borders, in a statement, CASR said, “The arrival of the Kisan Andolan to the Delhi border near Kundli brought slogans of Kisan-Majdoor Ekta. Mobilising support for the struggle, workers in Kundli organised rallies and programmes.”
It added, “Targeting this unity, the factory owners and management let loose the QRT (extra-legal armed force of the management and contractors, Quick Response Team in the the Kundli Industrial Association) on the workers.” The QRT particularly started targeting workers who had been taking time out of their grueling shifts to aid the peasants camping at the border.”

Text:

On January 12, the Haryana Police barged into the Majdoor Adhikar Sanghatan (MAS) tent erected in solidarity with the protesting farmers and peasants at the Singhu Border and arrested a 24-year-old dalit woman, a worker and trade union activist Nodeep Kaur.
She was then taken to the Kundli police station where two different FIRs were filed against her, FIR 25/2021 and 26/2021. One under sections 148, 149, 186, 332, 352, 384, 379B and 307 of the Indian Penal Code and the other under sections 148, 149, 323, 452, 384 and 506; a wide range of sections including rioting while armed with deadly weapon, unlawful assembly, causing hurt to public servant, assault and criminal force, trespass, extortion, snatching, criminal intimidation and attempt to murder.
These FIR’s are based on statements by a police inspector and the accountant of the company that had failed to pay the workers’ wages, M/S Elecmech Pvt. Ltd. While in police custody, she was brutally beaten by male police officers including her genitals amounting to sexual violence.
In the midst of one of the largest peasant agitations in recent times where workers of the Kundli Industrial Area have shown solidarity with the agitation, the Haryana police, after repeated efforts to break this unity, has shown its brutality through heinous sexual violence perpetuated against a young dalit woman hailing from a landless peasant family in Punjab.
Nodeep Kaur has since been sent to Karnal Jail where she remains in judicial custody for two weeks. Meanwhile, the threat of arrest of more workers looms large over the Kundli Industrial Area.
Nodeep Kaur works in Kundli Industrial Area and, as a part of Majdoor Adhikar Sanghatan (MAS), has been taking up the issues of worker harassment by management, unpaid dues of workers, pending wages and rampant exploitation of women workers.
Without unions and representation, the workers are largely working on contract and were not paid wages during the lockdown despite the Ministry of Home Affairs order No. 40-3/2020-DM-I(A) dated March 29, 2020 ensuring the same. They also face daily threats of violence and outright assaults at the hands of the extra-legal armed force of the management and contractors called the Quick Response Team (QRT) sponsored by the Kundli Industrial Association (KIA), a body of factory owners and management.
The sole purpose of the QRT is to intimidate workers and quash any attempts at building unions, a constitutionally guaranteed right of every worker, through brute force and violence. Over the last couple of years, those belonging to MAS, an organisation of former and current workers in Kundli including men and women, have faced the ire of the management and their private armed force.
During the lockdown the workers, who are largely migrant, mobilised to ensure adequate relief in the form of food grains from the Haryana State. Post these efforts, they were first targeted by a local force of factory and land owners called the Hindu Jagriti Manch, members of which once violently attacked a meeting of the MAS. After the lockdown was lifted, the condition of workers in Kundli was pitiable due to non-payment of wages and the MAS redoubled their efforts by taking up the cases of the workers winning the confidence of many.
The arrival of the Kisan Andolan to the Delhi border near Kundli brought slogans of Kisan-Majdoor Ekta. Mobilising support for the struggle, workers in Kundli organised rallies and programmes. Likewise, many peasants, touched by the unflinching support of the workers, came forward to help the workers in their struggle. With the help of the peasants, the MAS was able to successfully obtain wages for over 300 workers.
Collusion between factory owners, management, their armed force, local Hindutva groups  and Haryana police is there for everyone to see
Targeting this unity, the factory owners and management let loose the QRT on the workers and these attacks grew more frequent and more violent. The QRT particularly started targeting workers who had been taking time out of their grueling shifts to aid the peasants camping at the border. On January 2, when the workers went to the company demanding their unpaid wages, the QRT fired shots at the workers. The MAS members immediately went to file a complaint with the police.
The Kundli police refused to register their complaint. The workers then sent an application to the Superintendent of Police in Sonipat. Yet, the police refused to take any action. Instead, the police filed charges of ‘extortion’ against workers. While the QRT admit they fired in “self-defence”, the police deny any firing took place.
Again, on January 12, the workers went to the factory demanding the payment of wages. Instead, they faced brutal lathi-charge and firing including misbehaviour with women workers some of whose clothes were torn. When efforts made to break the resolve of the workers and their unity with the Kisan Andolan through various pressure tactics failed, they arrested Nodeep Kaur and concocted ludicrous charges against her.
Today, those rightfully asking for wages are being targeted, sexually assaulted and brutally beaten in police custody. Moreover, the targeting of a young dalit woman who dared to raise her voice for the rightful demands of the workers has been met with the most cruel, misogynistic barbarity of the men in uniform who have resorted to sexual violence. The impunity of the police stands firmly on a Brahmanical, patriarchal, Hindutva ground.
The collusion between the factory owners, management, their armed force, local groups like the Hindu Jagriti Manch and the Haryana police is there for everyone to see. Meanwhile, worker-activists like Nodeep Kaur are arrested and sexually abused in custody while a systematic smear campaign is launched against them in the media.
The desperation of the corporate-state nexus rears its head at the mere hint of worker-peasant unity. The Brahmanical Hindutva fascist forces are aided and abetted by police complicit in their anti-women, anti-dalit, anti-worker and anti-peasant agenda turning to outright state repression when all else fails.
The role of the KIA factory owners and management, their private armed force and the Haryana Police in targeting workers must be seen in light of the threat that worker-peasant unity poses to these forces. It is a part of the relentless efforts made to discredit and malign the Kisan Andolan in the face of growing support for the struggle.
The Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) denounces these vile actions of the Haryana Police against Nodeep Kaur and workers like her, demands her immediate release and an immediate cessation to the targeting of workers. CASR also unequivocally condemns the custodial sexual violence faced by Nodeep Kaur and demands strict action against the perpetrators in uniform.
And, finally, we call upon all democratic forces to come together, condemn these actions of the Haryana Police and demand accountability.
---
*AISA, AISF, APCR, Bhim Army, Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, BSCEM, CEM, CRPP, CTF, Disha, DISSC, DSU, DTF, IAPL, IFTU, IMK, Karnataka Janashakti, KYS, Lokpaksh, LSI, Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan, Mazdoor Patrika, Mehnatkash Mahila Sangathan, Morcha Patrika, NAPM, NBS, NCHRO, Nowruz, NTUI, PDSU, People’s Watch, Rihai Manch, Samajwadi Janparishad, Satyashodak Sangh, SFI, United Against Hate, WSS

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Cyrus Mistry, PM Modi’s brother: What do these accidents have in common? Merc!

By Rosamma Thomas*  In September 2022, in an accident at Palghar near Mumbai, Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of the Tata Group, died in a road accident . On December 28, 2022, a road accident in Mysore left one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brothers injured. What is common in these accidents? The car that crashed into the divider on the road, in both these cases, was manufactured by “prestigious” German manufacturer Mercedes Benz. One former dealer of Mercedes Benz cars in India has been raising issues of the threat to the lives of those riding these cars for many years now. Cama Motors, among the oldest dealers of foreign cars, having started business in pre-independence India, noted over 10 years ago that Mercedes Benz was indulging in corrupt practices . The cars are currently priced between Rs 41 lakh and Rs 2.92 crore in India; few people realize that the pride of owning a Merc comes at considerable risk to life. Cama Motors carefully documented several of the flaws on a websi

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen