Deepika Singh Rajawat, the lawyer of Asifa Bano, the eight-year-old victim of rape and murder in Jammu and Kashmir, has accused the president of the High Court Bar Association of harassment and threats, Bhupinder Singh Salathia for pleading the case of a minor girl.
This young lawyer is determined to provide justice to the eight-year-old tribal nomad girl by defying threats and abuses. Asifa Bano was brutally gang-raped in a temple for days before being strangled to death in Kathua district in January.
What made Rajawat to seek safety and security?
Deepika Singh Rajawat, who is the chairperson of Voice For Rights, an NGO working for the protection of Human Rights, is not new to threats and insults. She faced threats and verbal abuse by fellow lawyers prompting her to write to the chief justice of J&K High Court to ensure her safety and security in the court.
Rajawat is appearing in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on behalf of the victim’s parents seeking court monitored investigation into the rape and murder of the eight-year-old tribal nomad girl.
“On April 4, when I was there in high court, Salathia asked me not to appear in this matter. When I told the bar president that I was not a member of the bar association and hence I can appear for the cases I want, he replied, “Yaha par gandd phailane ki zarurat nahi hai (no need to spread filth here)” When she protested, she was further threatened, “I have the means to stop you.”
Believe it or not, the lawyer was even denied water!
“Just recently when I went to one of the bar rooms to have some water, a staff told me that water cannot be served to me since there were directions from senior officers. Is this the property of the bar president?” asked Rajawat.
Cases related to women and children
Rajawat runs an NGO that takes up cases of human rights abuse against women and children especially cases of trafficking and of children who are victims of mines.
In 2012 she filed a PIL asking the court to conduct a survey of mine victims and give those who have suffered injuries adequate compensation. Due to her PIL , the mine victims are currently receiving Rs two lakh per individual.
Another field of her work is juvenile justice. She has received Charkha fellowship and have Ladli award in this regard.
”I am thankful to the chief justice of J&K High Court who has taken cognizance of my complaint and asked the security wing of J&K High Court to ensure I remain safe whenever I appear in the court.”
She said lawyers who are demanding a CBI probe into the case must understand that Crime Branch investigations were monitored by the High Court.
“High court has monitored the investigation and why would I ask for CBI probe. If they (Jammu Bar) wanted CBI investigation where were they when fir was registered? Coming on roads, pushing and pulling and threatening women is not the way. We are there to protect the law and not violate it”, she said.
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