KATHUA RAPE, MURDER CASE: Campaign for justice to victim gains pace

KATHUA RAPE, MURDER CASE: Campaign for justice to victim gains pace

Participants of seminar seek speedy probe

People from different walks of life in the summer capital on Sunday participated in a seminar ‘Women, state and nationalism’ organised in the wake of Kathua rape and murder case. 

Addressing the seminar telephonically, a Jammu-based lawyer, Deepika Singh Rajawat, representing the eight-year old victim alleged that “anti-social elements with vested interests are communalizing the case which is causing hurdles in the investigation.”

Rajawat along with fellow lawyer activist Talib Hussain said “we will make all efforts to put up a resistance against any political interference in the case.”  The seminar was organised by Srinagar-based “Justice for Asifa Solidarity Forum”. 

“It has been my experience that hurdles are ought to occur whenever there is a case pertaining to a minority group. Some people with vested interests are giving a communal colour to the case which is hampering the investigations. But we have full faith in judiciary and hope the case will be fast tracked,” said Rajawat.

To mention, victim’s biological father through advocate Rajawat had recently filed a petition in the Jammu High Court that fair and impartial investigation is only possible if High Court monitors the ongoing investigation in the case. Rajawat said investigating agency probing the case should put-up a firm stand so that accused do not go scot-free.

“A fair investigation should be conducted and the victim should be rendered justice by bringing the culprits to the book. Yesterday, a person with strong political affiliations made an inflammatory statement on the case which we will take-up in the High Court on Monday. We won’t allow any political interference,” Rajawat said.

Also addressing the seminar telephonically from Jammu, lawyer-cum-activist Talib Hussain, who was the first individual to publicly seek justice for the Kathua victim, said a “larger conspiracy hatched by some “fringe-elements” with political ambitions  lies behind the rape and murder.”

Last month, Talib was arrested after he came-out in support of victim. “One gets to see a certain pattern in such gruesome cases of crime where intimidation of minorities is the main motive. Last year a calf was beheaded and the head was intentionally thrown into a majority community household in Kathua. Before that pieces of meat were similarly thrown,” Talib said. 

Talib said two ministers from the ruling dispensation who appeared in a recently-held rally in Kathua in favour of the accused was unacceptable.

“The fact is that people are trying to earn political points over this incident as the Hiranagar (in Kathua district) Lok Sabha seat is lying vacant which is catching all the attention,” Talib said.

Earlier addressing the audience at the seminar, industrialist Shakeel Qalander said recent statement by a Union minister that probe into the rape and murder case will be handed-over to Central Bureau of Investigation ( CBI) “should be opposed tooth and nail”. 

“There should be peaceful sit-ins to express a sense of urgency for demanding justice for the victim. Going by the previous experiences, we don’t have the trust over any outside investigating agency for conducting a probe in this case,” said Qalander. 

Journalist Najeeb Mubarki said justice for the victim must be intensified so that accused are punished. “Violence against this girl was structural and not isolated and this case has political connotations. One does not know the equations of the two political parties in the ruling dispensation and there is every possibility that public pressure on them will lead to the guilty being punished,” Mubarki said.

Among others who spoke at the event included certain students, Dr Sajad Qanungo, vice-president, Doctors Association of Kashmir and lawyer Babar Qadri.