Nirbhaya’s Lawyer, Bhim Army’s Counsel to Fight for Hathras Victim
Seema Kushwaha represented Nirbhaya’s family in the Supreme Court for almost seven years.
Advocate Seema Kushwaha, who represented the parents of 2012 Delhi gang-rape victim, will also be fighting the legal battle for the 19-year-old Hathras victim’s family.
Bhim Army’s legal adviser MS Arya and Rajratna Ambedkar, Dr BR Ambedkar’s great grandson who chairs the Buddhist Society of India, will be joining Kushwaha in the case, a member of the victim’s family confirmed to The Quint.
Speaking to The Quint, Kushwaha said:
“I am going to be representing the Hathras rape victim’s family. We have signed the vakalatnama. I will fight until the daughter of Hathras gets her due. We will all have to fight until women’s safety is given top priority again.”
In his writ petition in Supreme Court, Ambedkar has demanded that the case be tried outside the state and cited that the family has been forced into confinement. He alleged that with the cops, magistrates and accused all being from the upper caste community, created a “hostile atmosphere” for the victim’s family.
The 19-year-old Dalit woman passed away on 29 September, after she was allegedly gang-raped by four upper caste Thakur men. The incident grabbed national headlines after the UP Police allegedly cremated the victim’s body without the family’s consent and presence.
Kushwaha, Ambedkar Stopped By UP Police from Meeting Family
On 1 October, two days after the Dalit woman’s death, Kushwaha and Ambedkar made her way to Hathras. But was stopped by the Uttar Pradesh cops.
“I wanted to give them Rs 1 lakh help from the Buddhist Society of India. However, in the morning (1st October), their phones were switched off. I went to the village but was stopped by police,” Ambedkar told Mumbai Mirror.
The Supreme Court advocate, on the other hand, told news agency ANI:
“I wanted to ask how my meeting with the family will create a law and order problem. I came here as an individual, how can I cause law and order trouble... As a private counsel, I want to give my help.”
Since then, she has met the family twice, she told The Quint. She added that she has been in touch with them over phone since the victim was moved from the Aligarh hospital to Delhi.
How Kushwaha Became Voice of Nirbhaya in Court
Born in Uggarpur village in Uttar Pradesh’s Etawah district, Kushwaha was a law trainee in the capital when the Nirbhaya gang rape came to light in 2012. When Nirbhaya died of her injuries on 29 December 2012, Kushwaha had organised a meet in her memory and invited her parents to it.
While she has been in touch with her parents since then, the lawyer began representing the family only in 2014, demanding capital punishment for all four adult convicts in the Supreme Court.
“When more details started pouring in, something in me moved. I wiped my tears. All my life, I’d fought for myself, but this wasn’t the time to sit at home and cry – it was the time to get out there and fight back,” Kushwaha said in an interview to NDTV.
After seven years, three death warrants and countless delays later, the four convicts were hanged to death on 20 March 2020.
(With inputs from NDTV, ANI)
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