I Don’t Know Till When I Will Be Alive Says Kathua Rape Case Lawyer
In times when a horrific rape and murder trial is fanning communal distress, the lawyer fighting the case is ironically a Kashmiri Pandit woman. Deepika Singh Rajawat is the advocate of Mohammad Akhtar from Kathua village in Jammu fighting to get justice for his eight-year-old daughter.
Rajawat is not just fighting for justice but also the prejudices, threats and abuses of several torchbearers of law who reproach her for taking up the case of a Muslim girl. However, she took up the case for the sheer reason that she also has a five-year-old daughter and she fears for her safety.
Mother of a daughter
As the nation is outraging against sexual offences against young girls in the country, Rajawat at a recent demonstration in the national capital said, “I’m a mother of a five-year-old daughter. When she goes to school in her van, I press my heart as I want to see her alive after school.”
“’What made you take this case?’ I’m a woman – isn’t that enough? I’m a mother – isn’t that enough?”
Rajawat took up the case in February when she read about it in the local newspaper. The girl had gone missing on January 10, but the police had refused to file an FIR in the case. She approached her father to fight the case on his behalf since he belongs to a poor nomad community, Bakerwal.
Rajawat filed the writ petition wherein the father had sought a court-monitored probe into the death of his daughter.
Verbal Assault and Trauma
Rajawat has been threatened by fellow lawyers and judges at the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association. The ostracization went so far that she was even denied water in one of the rooms.
“I don’t know till when I will be alive. I can be raped, my modesty can be outraged, I can be killed, I can be damaged. Yesterday I was threatened that ‘we will not forgive you’. I am going to tell SC tomorrow that I am in danger.”Advocate Rajawat told ANI.
As she is hurled abuses and called names such as anti-Hindu, Rajawat makes it clear that she is a Rajasthani army officer’s wife – Brahmin by birth and Rajput by deed (marriage). “I’m ashamed of belonging to a community who themselves call me anti-Hindu.”
Determined to fight
But she is determined to fight the case with all her dedication and passion.
“I m not scared of threats, will fight this case and make sure our child gets the Justice,” the Laadli Awardee wrote on her Twitter on Saturday (April 14).
While the Jammu and Kashmir High Court is hearing the case currently, Rajawat has appealed that the case is heard outside Jammu and Kashmir. She recently expressed her gratitude at Supreme Court’s decision of hearing the plea against the seven accused in the gangrape and murder of the girl.
“I will tell this to the Supreme Court. I am feeling bad and it’s really unfortunate. You can well imagine my plight. But, I will stand for justice and we would seek justice for the eight-year-old girl,” she said, Indian Express reported.
“I’m a mother of a five-year-old daughter. When she goes to school in her van, I press my heart as I want to see her alive after school.”
The Human Rights Activist
This is not the first time Rajawat has heard abuses for fighting a case. She fought a case earlier this year where a judge had raped his maid. Rajawat won the case and the judge is currently facing imprisonment.
In 2012, she fought a case where a girl domestic help had died under mysterious circumstances at the house of an advocate, Surinder Singh. At that time, the lawyers had gone to the extent of cancelling her bar membership.
She founded an NGO recently called Voice for Rights, which focuses on getting justice to abused women and children, especially cases of trafficking and of children who are victims of landmines.
Rajawat has also filed a PIL asking the court to conduct a survey of landmine victims and give those who have suffered injuries adequate compensation. Her PIL was a success as landmine victims presently receive Rs 2 lakh per individual.
She has now filed a PIL on the fruit mafia that is using all kinds of artificial ripeners, including calcium carbide, to ripen fruits.
Rajawat’s efforts in fighting for juvenile justice through the years have also won her the Chakra Fellowship in 2009.
More power to the indomitable lawyer!
Picture credit- New Indian Express