Prominent activist in Kathua rape incident accused of rape

Jammu: In view of the #MeToo movement, senior Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising appearing for Bakerwal activist Talib Hussain has told media that she is in full support of the ongoing campaign that is revealing true colors of abusers that have been walking past us as normal human beings.

Talib Hussain was in jail for the past two months on charges of rape leveled by his estranged wife’s close relative and is yet again accused of rape by another woman, totallying it to two rape complaints against him.

The news portal Firstpost had published an anonymous account on Saturday by a woman who alleged she was raped by “a man leading the protests against the Kathua sexual assault”.

The account did not name Hussain but it did point in his direction which was subsequently followed by lawyer Jaising announcing she will no longer represent Hussain in view of the allegations made against him.

In “view of full support of the #MeToo movement,” Jaising said: “Although the survivor has not named the person who raped her, the obvious reference is to Talib Hussain.”

She also quoted the “Cab-Rank rule”, and said that “it states that ordinarily no advocate will withdraw from engagements once accepted without sufficient cause. In my opinion the allegations made in the FirstPost article are sufficient cause for me to take the decision to withdraw from this case.”

Meanwhile, Former JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid responding to the published news which indicated towards Hussain told The Sunday Express: “I don’t know the survivor but the charges made against Talib Hussain in her account are very serious and these warrant action. The police should take suo motu cognizance of the charges. The survivor should know that all of JNU stands with her and she would get all necessary support if she reached out to anyone.”

The Kathua rape incident that has led to a religious polarization in Jammu had Hussain as the lead seeking justice for the victim. After he was attacked at Udhampur, the apex court has ordered Police protection to him.

Jaising in her statement added: “My social commitment to the #MeToo movement overrides my professional engagement, and therefore I have taken a conscious decision to stop representing Talib Hussain in any court.”

The report published in Firstpost stated an anonymous woman’s sexual assault at hands of talib Hussain.

Recalling the incident, the woman said the attacker had been invited to JNU as a speaker on March 27, and that she was one of the students who invited him.

She wrote: “On 27 April, he messaged me to say that he would be arriving in Delhi that evening and that I should meet him. I did not want to… He called me 40 times that night (I noted this on my call log the next day).”
The woman claims she finally met him outside JNU around 12.30 am and they reached a lane in the Batla House locality.

She wrote: “He ushered me into a one-room flat on the second/third floor of a building. I knew what was going to happen next: he would demand sex from me, I would refuse to give consent, and he would end up raping me. My fears turned out to be right.”

The woman has alleged brutal rape by her attacker: “…I pleaded with him, I even physically wrestled against his brute strength; but my resistance seemed too frail compared to his brutality. I remember crying in pain; but instead, he mocked me, saying ‘Tum bohot naazuk ho.’ All the while he raped me, he kept insisting that he would do nikaah with me, as if by declaring his intention to marry he would legitimise what he was doing.”

Hussian’s invitation to the JNU campus on March 27 was confirmed by Sadath Hussain Khalifa, a core committee member of the organization.

“We had invited him in context of the Kathua rape case, to deliver a talk on ‘Justice for Aasifa and The Gujjar-Bakkarwal Community in J&K’. Along with Hussain, a JNU research scholar was also supposed to speak at the event,” said Khalifa.