J&K: Kathua gangrape victim’s father withdraws Deepika Rajawat as counsel

Rajawat said she was taken aback by the decision, however, added that there were three senior public prosecutors appearing for the prosecution and the case is safe in their hands.

The father of Kathua gangrape victim has withdrawn J&K lawyer Deepika Rajawat as his counsel from the case, citing her inability to regularly attend trial hearings in view of the threat to her life.

In an application submitted before Sessions Judge, Pathankot, where the trial of the case was shifted from Kathua following directions from the Supreme Court, the father submitted that he was fully satisfied by the progress in the case which is being argued by Special Public Prosecutors S S Basra and Jagdishwar Kumar Chopra, and assisted by K K Puri, Harbhajan Singh, Mubeenm Farooky and other advocates.

The father claimed that Rajawat has appeared in the case only two or three times even though proceedings in the matter are being held on a day-to-day basis for the past five months. “So keeping in view her apprehension and non-appearance in the case, I hereby withdraw my power of attorney issued to Deepika Rajawat and now she is not my advocate,” he submitted.

The victim’s father told The Indian Express that he was told by other lawyers that she was not appearing in the case. “I filed an application withdrawing her as my counsel in view of statements appearing in the media about threats issued to her life,” he added.

Deepika shot into prominence after she took up the cause of the nomadic family and approached the J&K High Court on behalf of the victim’s biological father, seeking a court-monitored probe in the case. It was only after this that the state crime branch arrested most of the accused including former revenue official Sanji Ram, his son and four policemen in the matter. Eight people have been arrested on the charge of criminal conspiracy, rape and subsequent murder of an eight-year-old Bakerwal child in the forests of Kathua early this year.

When The Indian Express reached her for comment, Rajawat said she was taken aback by the decision. She, however, said there were three senior public prosecutors appearing for the prosecution and the case is safe in their hands.

“At the initial and crucial stage when it was required, I fought at the cost of my life and even stood against my own community members,” she said, adding that since this time, the case was going well her presence was not required.

Apart from this, she had to appear for her cases in Jammu which would otherwise suffer if she went to Pathankot every day, Deepika said.

Source: The Indian Express