Activist Talib Hussain who led the campaign for justice in the rape and murder of 8-year old Kathua girl has been booked by the J&K for attempting suicide in police custody. However, Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising has claimed that Hussain was tortured in police custody and had sustained severe head injuries. She tweeted that Hussain’s relatives were not allowed to meet him at the hospital and that they later saw him at the police station, his head bandaged and bleeding. Earlier, Hussain was arrested on charges of sexual assault and illegal possession of weapons. This came after his estranged wife had filed a domestic violence case against him. A close relative of Hussain has petitioned the Supreme Court which on Wednesday heard the case. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra asked J&K Government to submit its reply within a week and asked senior Supreme Court advocate Indira Jaising, who demanded judicial intervention in the matter, to submit a copy of her plea to the advocate general.
Hussain’s run-ins with the police began ever since he led the campaign for justice for the Kathua victim. He had earlier been arrested for leading a protest, seeking the arrest of the perpetrators of the heinous crime. Police had even threatened to slap a Public Safety Act on him. What is more, even the Bar Council of India has questioned his credibility.
There is thus a pattern to this victimization. And it is both tragic and troubling. An activist who should have been a hero for his campaign for justice is being projected as evil. This so, even when every effort is being made to defend the perpetrators. Sections of the right-wing opinion in Jammu have seen consistent mobilization in favour of the accused. Early this year, the BJP leader Lal Singh organized dozens of rallies in support of the CBI probe into the rape and murder. He sided with the right-wing groups who supported the accused in the ghastly crime.
More voices in support of the CBI investigation emerged in the run-up to the Supreme Court hearing. Earlier also, a fact-finding report by a team with right-wing links submitted its report on the rape and murder to Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The team also defended the CBI probe and questioned the Crime Branch investigation and the autopsy report. In fact, as influential a body as the Bar Council of India also threw its weight behind the demand for a CBI investigation.
This offers a troubling picture of the state of affairs. The full might of the state seems rigged in favour of a certain kind of politics which sees even hideous crimes in terms of the religion of the victims and the perpetrators. And in case of Kathua crime, this politics is apparently being pushed to its limits. One only hopes that the better sense prevails on the powers that be and at least in case of the crimes, law is allowed to take it’s course, undistracted by the petty considerations of identities.
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