Updated: March 5, 2021 1:41:08 am
Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan (MAS) president Shiv Kumar (24) was released from Sonepat Jail on Thursday after the district court granted him bail. This comes a week after Dalit labour rights activist and MAS member Nodeep Kaur was released from Karnal Jail after getting bail from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
As Kumar walked out of prison, with a white bandage on his leg, activists and supporters raised slogans of “Inquilab Zindabad” and “Sathi Shiv Kumar ka Sangharsh Zindabad”.
Kumar was arrested on charges of “extortion and attempt to murder” in connection with a dispute at Kundli related to salaries of factory workers on January 12, and had been in judicial custody since February 2.
Speaking to The Indian Express, he alleged: “I wasn’t even at the Kundli factory where the incident took place but police picked me up on January 16. They tortured me. For the next six days, I was beaten almost every day… They hurled casteist slurs and abuses at me. I didn’t do anything wrong. After my parents found out about the arrest and the beatings, police mentally harassed me… I was scared for my life. I was tortured and made to give false statements. I am going to PGIMS (Chandigarh) now. I am not feeling well.”
Granting bail to Kumar, Sonepat Sessions Judge Y S Rathor said, “Co-accused Nodeep Kaur, whose case is identical to that of applicant, has been released on bail by Hon’ble High Court… In these circumstances, applicant is entitled to be released on bail on ground of parity.” The court asked Kumar “not to leave India without prior permission of the court” and not to influence the probe.
Kumar’s bail plea alleged workers had approached him saying factory owners had not paid their dues. “… written memorandums were submitted to factory owners. Due to this, factory owners along with Kundli police station officials gave severe beatings to Shiv Kumar,” it alleged, adding that police picked him up when he was going home, “detained him in custody illegally for approximately 10 days, beat him mercilessly”.
Quoting a report
from doctors at Chandigarh’s Government Medical College and Hospital, the bail plea mentioned that “eight injuries, including two fractures and two grievous injuries” were found on his body.
As per the version of prosecution in court, Kundli police station SHO Ravi Kumar said they had received a call that “a few persons were trying to forcibly enter a factory (on January 12) for extortion”. The prosecution said around 50-60 people “armed with lathis and dandas” were raising slogans and they later attacked police.
Denying allegations of torture, a senior police officer, who did not wish to be named as the matter is sub-judice, said, “No violence was used on Shiv Kumar during police custody. During his 10-day custody, he was taken for medical examination four times and different doctors examined him. He didn’t complain of any injury or torture nor did doctors find any sign of injuries. He was also examined by the jail doctor…”
Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president Manjinder Singh Sirsa said Kumar’s medical examination was conducted one-and-a-half months after he sustained injuries, “following orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court”.
Before Kumar’s release, Kaur held a protest at Sonepat’s Bhimrao Ambedkar Park. She was joined by several locals and students and they marched towards the District Commissioner’s office seeking his release.
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