Kathua Rape: Meet the Duo Fighting to Get Justice for the 8-Yr-Old

An 8-yr-old girl was brutally raped and murdered in Kathua after being held by some members of the Hindu Ekta Manch.

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India
4 min read
IPS Ramesh Kumar Jalla (left) and Lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat (right).
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In wake of the tragic news surrounding the gruesome gangrape and murder of an eight-year old girl in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir, and the shocking details that emerged from its chargesheet, two individuals have been dedicating their lives to one purpose – to seek justice for the victim.

Deepika Singh Rajawat, a 38-year-old lawyer and Ramesh Kumar Jalla, an IPS Officer of the Jammu and Kashmir Cadre have made significant contributions to the case, despite incoming threats and a fair share of hurdles.

As reported by Scroll, Rajawat had said that she had received direct threats from the Jammu High Court Bar Association, who had earlier defended the accused and demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Jalla, the Senior Superintendent of Police (Crime Branch) and his team had taken the case up despite the communal backlash in Kathua, and effectively completed investigations in “record time”. The team submitted the chargesheet roughly 10 days before the accorded deadline, reports Asia Times.

Deepika Singh Rajawat

Rajawat, whose family hails from the village of Karihama in North Kashmir, moved to Jammu in 1986, a few years before militants in the Kashmir Valley began to target Hindus living in the region, reports Hindustan Times (HT).

According to Scroll, Rajawat, who has a five-year-old daughter, had filed a writ petition on the case, following which the Jammu and Kashmir high court started monitoring it, with the Crime Branch taking over the investigation thereafter.

Rajawat’s active involvement in the case, however, did not go down well with the Jammu High Court Bar Association, who she said had been defending the accused and had demanded a CBI probe into the case, HT reports.

In a Facebook post that she put up on 5 April, Rajawat said that she had been threatened by Bhupinder Singh Salathia, the President of the Jammu High Court Bar Association, who had asked her not to appear in court.

A leader is to respect everyone's sentiments... Feeling sorry for Senior designated Lawyer Mr. Bupinder Singh Salathia...

Posted by Deepika Singh Rajawat on Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A few days later, when she hadn’t complied with the threats, she faced even stronger opposition. In another Facebook post that she put up on 9 April, she said:

And helpers in ladies bar room at trial courts have been directed not to offer me water by Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association, Jammu. 
Deepika Singh Rajawat

And helpers in ladies bar room at trial courts have been directed not to offer me water by Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association, Jammu. Abh kaho yeah bhi jooth hai. Jai Ho....

Posted by Deepika Singh Rajawat on Monday, April 9, 2018

In conversation with ANI, Rajawat said that despite the growing threats, she wasn’t one to back down from the fight for justice.

They think they can threaten a woman and the woman will hide or get scared. But they don’t know, this woman is not one to get scared. This woman will stand for a Hindu and Muslim and Sikh and Christian, because I am a human being. 
Deepika Singh Rajawat told ANI

Following this, Rajawat, who is also the Chairperson of an NGO named “Voice For Rights”, approached the chief justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and filed a complaint, asking for security while she was appearing for cases in court, DNA reports.

To Rajawat, the DNA report adds, the results of the crime branch’s investigations are sufficient, and she does not understand the BAJ’s call for a CBI probe.

If they (Jammu Bar) wanted CBI investigation where were they when the fir was registered? Coming on roads, pushing and pulling and threatening women is not the way. We are there to protect the law and not violate it. 
Deepika Singh Rajawat

IPS Officer Ramesh Kumar Jalla

A report by Cobrapost cites IPS officer Ramesh Kumar Jalla, who was officially appointed as the supervisor of the case, describes him as an officer “known for an impeccable track record when it comes to handling sensitive cases”.

The report adds that Jalla had been a known face in counter insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and that along with officers Imtiaz Ali and Mohammad Irshad, Jalla had been successful in killing many highly wanted terrorists.

Jalla, who heads the Jammu region for the state’s Crime Branch, was supported by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by a young officer, Naveed Peerzada, reports Asia Times.

According to the report, Jalla, a native from Srinagar, joined the police as an inspector in 1984.

The report further states that at the start of their investigations, both Jalla and Peerzada were unaware of the fact that several members of the police department had allegedly been bribed by the accused in the case, and had helped them cover up the crime.

It was only when the combined forces of the Crime Branch and the SIT discovered that the mud on the victim’s clothes had been planted, that they realised that it was an insider’s doing.

Speaking to Asia Times on how the investigating teams had worked round the clock to conclude their reports, Jalla said that it was a difficult task considering the constant protests and pressures they faced from those supporting the accused.

However, he said that he hadn’t been more at peace than he had when the team had finally filed the chargesheet.

“I had a sound sleep after over two months,” Jalla said.

(With inputs from Hindustan Times, Scroll, DNA and Asia Times)

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