November 2, 2018
Deepika Singh Rajawat has been provided with security but she still fears her life as she has received several rape and death threats after taking up Kathua case.
This heightened 24×7 alertness has become a part of her life ever since she took up the gang-rape and murder case of an eight year-old girl of Rasana in Kathua.
State police provided her with security after she expressed threat to her life earlier this year. This was after Rajawat spoke about being flooded with rape and murder threats.
So severe has the backlash and pressure been that ever since she picked up the case, she feels that they will “kill me one day”.
In a conversation with News18, almost 10 months after she took up the case on behalf of the parents of the minor girl, the 38-year-old lawyer spoke about how lonely she feels in her fight for justice, and about the support that she’s got during this trying time.
“I feel threatened that my family or I might be harmed physically. Also, I feel my attempts will be made to damage my dignity,” she said. She fears that one day a narcotic substance could be planted at her house to malign her reputation. This is another thing she looks for every time she unlocks the main gate.
Back in a trial court in Jammu, Rajawat walks through the corridors attracting stares and prompting pin-drop silence as she passes through crowds of lawyers, police and petitioners. Behind her people start whispering. Some point at her murmuring that “she is the woman who appears on television and newspapers”, others remember Rajawat from the widely shared photograph of her walking out of the Supreme Court, flanked by her colleagues.
She had just attended another hearing in the ongoing trial against the eight men who have been accused of gang-raping and murdering the Kathua girl with a motive of ‘driving out Bakarwals from Jammu’, where the crime was committed. The alleged hate crime sent ripples of shock waves throughout the globe.
The crime was followed by a protest march in support of the perpetrators, part of which were even Rajawat’s lawyer colleagues. The lawyers at Jammu also tried to stop the Crime Branch police from filing charges against the accused before Chief Judicial Magistrate’s office in Kathua.
After Supreme Court refused the demand for a CBI inquiry in the case, the case was transferred to a fast-track court in Pathankot, Punjab.
As soon as she became the face of the aggrieving parents’ in the quest for justice, Rajawat started receiving abuses and threats, apart from being trolled on social media. She was labeled an “anti-national” and suffered a boycott by her colleagues, relatives and neighbors.