Indira Jaising Says Won’t Defend Kathua Rape Activist After #MeToo Charge

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Talib Hussain led protests for justice in the gang-rape and murder of the eight-year-old girl in Kathua.

New Delhi:

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, who was representing Talib Hussain — the activist who led the protests for justice in the gang-rape and murder of the eight-year-old girl in Jammu's Kathua — has decided to withdraw from his case after rape accusations surfaced against him in the growing #MeToo movement.

Ms Jaising, who was representing Talib Hussain pro bono after his family alleged he was tortured in police custody for "championing the cause of the nomad community" during Kathua protests, said, "I don't intend to continue to appear on behalf of Talib Hussain anymore. In my opinion the allegations made in the Firstpost article are sufficient cause for me to take the decision to withdraw from this case."

When NDTV tried to contact Talib Hussain, he didn't respond.

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The anonymous account of a Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student, which did not name the attacker, but said he was a prominent activist in the Kathua rape case, was published by news website Firstpost on Saturday. The woman alleged that he had raped her in a flat in Batla House area.

In the article, the woman details the chain of events that led to the alleged assault in April. Before that, he had even proposed marriage to her, which she had turned down, she wrote. She added, "his intention (of nikaah) was not just to deceive me, it was also intended to assure himself that he is not from the same category of the men who raped and murdered the eight-year-old Bakarwal child".

Earlier, Talib Husain's estranged wife had accused him of domestic violence and dowry demands. A case was filed in June, but the activist was arrested only after his wife's close relative accused him of rape. He is currently out on bail.

Ms Jaisingh said she was not representing him in the domestic violence and rape case.

I did NOT represent him on domestic violence and rape,it was for custodial torture, I will continue to oppose custodial torture of any accused person regardless of the crime alleged against the person concerned , it is immoral , illegal , unethical and unconstitutional

– indira jaising (@IJaising) October 20, 2018

Advocate Deepika Rajawat, who has been fighting to ensure justice for the Kathua family, told NDTV, "Once criminal allegations become public, it becomes a state case and the police should take appropriate action. Law is equal for everyone, strict investigation must be done."

Activist Kavita Krishnan, who also worked alongside Talib Hussain in the Kathua case, is concerned about the possible impact of the rape accusation on their fight for justice.

Talib Hussain's relatives had earlier dismissed rape allegations against him. "The complainant is a close relative of Talib's estranged wife. When they failed to prove that he was to be blamed in a domestic violence and dowry case, they tried implicating him in rape case," Wajid Khatana, a nomad activist, had said.

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