The family of the eight-year-old girl, who was allegedly raped and murdered in a temple in Jammu’s Kathua district, has renounced lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat as the representative in the case. The father of the nomadic girl belonging to the Bakarwal tribe filed an application in the Pathankot district and sessions court on Wednesday before the trial began. He stated that Rajawat, who bolstered the case at the very beginning, won’t be representing them in the case anymore and that lawyer Mubin Farooky will replace her.

Farooky said that the father replaced Rajawat because she had “no time” to appear in the case. He revealed that she has appeared only twice since April when the trial began, media reported.

“More than 110 hearings in the case have taken place and more than 100 witnesses have been examined. But Rajawat has appeared in the case only twice. She has been claiming that she is receiving life threats because she has to appear in the case. It was decided that it is best to relieve her of this responsibility,” Farooky told ThePrint.

“Keeping in view her apprehension and non-appearance in this case… I hereby withdraw my power of attorney issued to Deepika Singh Rajawat and now she is not my advocate,” the application read.

Rajawat, who drew limelight towards the case at the beginning of it, said that a group of senior lawyers are handling the case. She also said that those lawyers have “far more experience” than her to tackle it.

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She fearlessly took up the case and fought bar council protests, demonstrations and threats to bring it up in the Supreme Court. She even convinced the apex court to transfer the case hearing from Jammu court to Pathankot in Punjab for a fair hearing. The Pathankot district and sessions court is hearing the case in-camera on a day-to-day basis. However, Rajawat has failed to appear in the court adequately for the family.

“I had wanted to go to the trial at least once a week, but it is not possible for me to go to Pathankot every day — I have to take care of my daughter. If I travel to Pathankot every day, which is 200 kilometers away, I will not be able to take care of my own practice.”

I had wanted to go to the trial at least once a week, but it is not possible for me to go to Pathankot every day — I have to take care of my daughter. If I travel to Pathankot every day, which is 200 kilometers away, I will not be able to take care of my own practice.

“Unfortunately the victim’s father had to put in the request. But I have no grudge against anyone. I did what I thought was required at that crucial stage, and everyone was scared to come forward. I am standing by the family,” said Rajawat.

In January this year, the young girl was allegedly kidnapped, raped and murdered in the village by a group of men belonging to the same village. But it came into media highlight when Rajawat took up the case and the girl’s family circulated the eight-year-old’s picture on social media to bring attention towards the fact that she went missing for several days. After Rajawat filing the initial papers, the Jammu Bar Council protested against it and several protests happened to protect the accused. Judges’ fraternity threatened Rajawat against taking up the case. Now the case hearing is going on under strict security.

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