Jaising to Stop Representing Kathua Activist After Rape Accusation
Talib Hussain, who brought the Kathua rape and murder to the media’s spotlight, was anonymously accused of rape.
After an anonymous account published in Firstpost accused Jammu & Kashmir-based activist Talib Hussain of rape, lawyer Indira Jaising who represented Hussain in his fight for justice against alleged custodial torture, has said that she will no longer represent him.
An anonymous account penned by a student from JNU, accused “an activist from Jammu” who “rose to prominence as an anti-rape crusader leading the cause of justice for the Kathua rape victim” of allegedly raping her in April 2018.
While the anonymous account doesn’t name Hussain, shortly after it was published, an article by lawyer Indira Jaising in The Leaflet, stated that the person being accused was Hussain, and that Jaising, who has represented Hussain in court, would no longer represent him.
“I was one of those students who had invited him to JNU campus. But subsequently, in his personal conversations with me, he proved to be very invasive of personal boundaries.”An excerpt from the anonymous account on Firstpost
The anonymous survivor goes on to say that Hussain allegedly messaged her and called her repeatedly, and insisted that they meet when he was in Delhi. She then adds that, after his repeated insistence, when she met him, he took her to a “one-room flat on the second/third floor of a building” where he raped her.
“That night, mine was NOT a feeble no. I threatened to expose him to all my friends in JNU, I pleaded with him, I even physically wrestled against his brute strength; but my resistance seemed too frail compared to his brutality. I remember crying in pain; but instead, he mocked me, saying “Tum bohot naazuk ho.” All the while he raped me, he kept insisting that he would do “nikaah” with me, as if by declaring his intention to marry he would legitimise what he was doing.”An excerpt from the anonymous account on Firstpost
You can read the full text of the anonymous account published on Firstpost here.
Won’t Represent Hussain Any Longer: Jaising
Indira Jaising’s statement came shortly after the survivor’s account was published in Firstpost. Jaising says that Hussain was one of the first people to bring media attention to the horrific rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, J&K earlier this year. She adds that his family had filed a petition in the Supreme Court alleging that Hussain was tortured in police custody, and that she was representing him in court.
“Since then, Talib Hussain has been accused in two cases – one by his wife and one by his sister-in-law, alleging domestic violence and rape, respectively. However, his family had filed a petition in the Supreme Court alleging that they were eyewitnesses to his torture in prison. Since I believe that torture in prison is a gross violation of the right to life, I represented his family in the Supreme Court in a petition limited to an enquiry into his torture.”Indira Jaising’s statement in The Leaflet
She adds that, in “full support of the #MeToo movement” she won’t represent Hussain any further. She goes on to write:
“My continued appearance for Talib, even though limited to his allegations of torture, will be inconsistent with my support for the #MeToo movement. I will continue to support the family of the victim of the Kathua rape and murder. I believe that a lawyer is not the hired spokesperson of a client, but has a social obligations and public responsibilities that go beyond the profession... My social commitment to the #MeToo movement overrides my professional engagement, and therefore I have taken a conscious decision to stop representing Talib Hussain in any court.”Indira Jaising’s statement in The Leaflet
Jaising concludes her statement, saying that, “The #MeToo movement has come organically to the doorstep of the law. There is no going back to the status quo.”
You can read Indira Jaising’s full statement in The Leaflet here.
(With inputs from The Leaflet and Firstpost)
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