Shiv Kumar, the 24-year-old president of the Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan (MAS), who was arrested on January 16, has multiple injuries, including at least two fractures, a court ordered medical examination has revealed. He was arrested just four days after co-accused, fellow activist Nodeep Kaur was picked up from the Singhu Border farmers protest site.
According to a report in the Indian Express, the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Chandigarh, has submitted its findings to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday. The GMCH has put on record that Shiv Kumar’s medical examination “showed multiple injuries, including at least two fractures on his left hand and right foot, caused by blunt object / weapon”. The injuries are noted to be “more than two weeks old”, in the report. Shiv Kumar was arrested on January 16, since then, not much news was reported about his condition, nor was it known if he had been allowed medical care, access to a lawyer etc. According to Nodeeep’s Sister, in the days following the arrest it was not clear if Shiv Kumar’s family was notified or if he had been allowed to talk to a lawyer, “there was no news or information about him,” she had said then.
A month later, lawyer, Harinder Singh Bains, who is among the scores who have volunteered legal help to the activists arrested from Singhu border, had said that the jail authorities have been citing the Covid protocols as issued by the government as a reason to keep jail inmates from meeting their lawyers and families. “Shiv Kumar is now kept in Covid quarantine under judicial custody and has not been allowed to meet even a lawyer,” added a lawyer who was trying to get a vakalatnama signed even a month after Shiv Kumar’s arrest. “The vakalatnama can be signed even without meeting the inmate, so it is not clear why they have not been done yet. Jail authorities seem to be using the Covid-19 procol at their own convenience,” he had said to SabrangIndia on February 16.
It was on February 19, that the court had directed the SP, Sonipat Jail, to get Kumar examined at GMCH, after his father, Rajbir, told the court that Kumar had been subjected to “police torture” reported IE. The police are yet to respond to those allegations, meanwhile, the IE reports that the GMCH report says Kumar has “right foot swelling…swelling and tenderness of left foot…nail beds of right second and third toe are broken and underlying skin is reddish in colour and showing healing changes… left big toe shows blackish discoloration… nails of left thumb and index finger shows bluish black discoloration with tenderness… tenderness over right wrist…There is fracture of distal phalanx of the second digit of left hand… fracture of base of 5th metatarsal bone of right foot…possible fracture/ sesamoid bone at left navicular bone… possibly fracture of the right ulna bone (right wrist).”
Kumar’s allegations have also been quoted in the report, he has alleged that on January 16, after his arrest, he was “taken to old Kacheri, Sonepat, where the C.I. staff assaulted him”. Kumar alleged that “there were about seven people”, adding that according to Kumar, “the police tied both his feet, lay him on the ground, and hit him on the soles. His second, third and fifth toe nails of the right foot were torn and the nail of the big toe of his left foot became blue. They also hit him on the buttocks with flat sticks, then they tied his hands and stretched his legs. He was made to lie on the ground with both legs straight and a metal pipe was placed on his thigh and rolled over the thighs by two people. They also hit him on both hands and palms and on the back of his head.” Kumar alleged that he was “also not allowed to sleep for three days. The C.I staff took his statement and asked him to give names, and, when he could not do so, they tied him to a chair and poured water on his head.”
According to the report: Kumar was presented before the court on January 24 and police was given 10 days’ remand. “He was in police remand from January 16 to February 2, 2021, and in jail in Sonepat from February 2, 2021, onwards,” says the report, adding that Kumar has alleged that “he was mentally and physically abused in police remand and they also poured hot water on his feet and any blisters that formed were burst by them. On January 29, 2021, they allegedly took him to Haridwar, but kept him in Sambalka police station, and reached Haridwar on January 30. On February 2, they took him to court but got a date for VC (video conference) on February 8”.
The IE reported that the team of GMCH doctors who examined Kumar included those from the orthopaedic, psychiatry, general surgery, radio diagnosis, forensic medicine and toxicology departments. It also reported the psychiatric evaluation report which says: “He appeared sad and distressed, with occasional crying spells. He expressed preoccupation with his current situation, reported predominant anxiety symptoms, flashbacks of brutality meted out to him, nightmares, feelings of loneliness, uncertainty about future and sleep disturbances.”
The High Court on Wednesday sought Kumar’s previous medical records, and fixed the next hearing for March 16. According to lawyers, the bail plea for Kumar will be applied for soon in all the three FIRs. His fellow activist Nodeep Kaur, has been lodged in Karnal Jail since her arrest on January 12, 2021. Details of Nodeep’s arrest may be read here.