Why Is the Bar Protecting the Kathua Rape Accused? Asks Counsel
Lawyers blocked the J&K police from filing the charge-sheet in the CJM court in Kathua, Jammu, on 9 April.
Lawyers blocked the J&K police from filing the charge-sheet in the CJM court in Kathua, Jammu, on 9 April.(Photo Courtesy: Wajahat Farooq Bhat‏/Twitter)

Why Is the Bar Protecting the Kathua Rape Accused? Asks Counsel

The Kathua rape victim’s counsel Deepika S Rajawat on Wednesday, 11 April, slammed local lawyers for stopping the Jammu and Kashmir Crime Branch personnel from filing a charge-sheet, and questioned if they were trying to “protect the accused.”

We saw how local lawyers stopped the crime branch from filing a charge-sheet. Why are you trying to protect the accused? Are they trying to satisfy an ulterior motive? They are saying that crime branch has not investigated the case properly.
Deepika S Rajawat to ANI

Normal Life Disrupted

The Jammu High Court Bar Association (JHCBA), demanding a CBI probe into the Kathua rape-cum-murder case, disrupted normal life across the region on Wednesday.

The region has been tense since the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl belonging to the nomadic Bakerwal Muslim community. The police has arrested eight persons in the case but the Bar Association has opposed the action alleging “targeting of minority Dogras.”

Some lawyers tried to prevent a police team from filing a charge-sheet in the case, following which another case was registered on Tuesday, 10 April. The case has even divided the state's polity, with at least two BJP ministers in the Mehbooba Mufti government questioning the role of the police.

Markets as well as shops and schools in Jammu remained closed on Wednesday following the bandh call, while fewer vehicles were seen on the roads. Majority of private educational institutions also remained closed as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident, officials told PTI.

The strike, which was supported by several political and civil society groups, was peaceful, though rallies and protests were staged by lawyers and their supporters at various places, they added.

“So far there is no report of any untoward bandh-related incident from anywhere,” Senior Superintendent of Police, Jammu, Vivek Gupta told PTI.

He said police had made necessary arrangements to ensure that the day passes off peacefully.

The strike also had its effect in Kathua, Samba and Udhampur districts of the Jammu province, officials said.

Carrying a tricolour and chanting slogans in support of their demands, JHCBA members led by their president BS Slathia staged a rally near the High Court complex, and visited various markets in the old city seeking public support.

A group of lawyers also blocked the court road near Janipur in the city while shouting “go back, go back, Rohingyas go back.”

(With inputs from PTI)

(The Quint is now available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

Follow our India section for more stories.

    Also Watch