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NEW DELHI: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Jammu, today told the Supreme Court that advocate Deepika Singh Rajawat, who is representing the victim's family in the Kathua gangrape and murder case, was not threatened by any member of the lawyers' body.
It further said there was a need for a "fair and impartial" CBI probe into the gangrape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl, while maintaining that it had not obstructed smooth functioning of the justice delivery system in any manner.
In an affidavit filed before the apex court, the lawyers' body has said neither its office bearers nor any member of the association had obstructed or threatened Rajawat from appearing in the court.
It has claimed that a "motivated and malicious campaign" by some media channels has created an "erroneous impression" about the motives of the 'bandh' call in Jammu by projecting the legal fraternity and also the people supporting it as "pro-rapists, which is factually incorrect and misleading as such denied.
"However, in order to ensure justice to the victim, the demand for a CBI enquiry in the Kathua rape and murder case was disassociated from the on-going agitation, as the matter had already landed before the court of law and the remedy, if any, was within the competence of the court of law, but still the association believes that the justice shall be done to the victim only after a fair and impartial probe by the CBI," the affidavit said.
With regard to the allegation of obstruction or extending threat to Rajawat, the association said, "It is totally false and baseless and the same is vehemently/specifically denied".
It said after the apex court had taken cognisance of the matter, members of the bar association have resumed their work after receiving a letter from the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and request from the Bar Council of India in this regard.
The lawyers' body said there was real grave threat to their life and national security in wake of illegal settlement of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis near strategic locations in Jammu, including Indian Army camps, the railway station, the airport, bridges, on Jammu's hills and along the national highway.
It alleged that state sponsored attempts were being made from time to time to create a Kashmir like situation by ensuring the demographic change in the Jammu region.
The lawyers' body said that District Bar Association, Kathua, was also supporting the demand of transfer of probe in the case to the CBI.
The charge sheet in the matter was filed in the court of chief judicial magistrate in Kathua, which is situated at a distance of about 100 km from Jammu, it said.
It denied the allegations that any member of the bar association had caused any obstruction in filing of the charge sheet in the court.
"As the charge sheet was filed in Kathua, and the alleged obstruction, if any, caused in filing the same can be better explained by the members of District Bar Association, Kathua," it said.
The affidavit has alleged that after the forcible exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir Valley, organised state sponsored attempts were being made from time to time to create a Kashmir like situation by ensuring the demographic change in Jammu region, where about 20 lakh kanals of state and forest land had been found to be illegally occupied.
"The members of the association would highlight that they feel grave threat to their security, life and property in the given circumstances where the state has miserably failed to perform its constitutional duty.
"In fact, by this act of omission and commission it has the effect of encouraging certain forces that are hell-bent to change the Jammu's demography so that the people living in Jammu region are made to feel insecure and toe line of anti-national forces, which are duly encouraged and patronised by foreign powers, especially Pakistan", it said.
The affidavit further said, "The fact of the matter is that there is real grave threat to our own life and national security that the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Jammu, took the plunge in view of the recent attack on February 10, 2018 on an army camp at Sunjwan, Jammu.
On April 13, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had taken a serious note of lawyers obstructing the judicial process in the case and had initiated a case on its own accord saying such impeding of the process of law "affects the delivery of justice".
The apex court had also ordered the state police to grant security to the family of the victim, their friend and their lawyer.
The minor girl went missing from a forested area near her home in Kathua on January 10 and her body was found in the same area a week later.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police Crime Branch, which probed the case, has filed a main charge sheet against seven persons and a separate case against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district.
The charge sheet revealed chilling details about how the girl was allegedly kidnapped, drugged, raped inside a place of worship before being killed.