It requires special kind of talent to be as shameless as Deepika Singh Rajawat, the ‘celebrity’ lawyer who shot to fame for taking on the Kathua rape case last year only to be kicked out by the victim’s family for not attending the hearings in Pathankot sessions court.
The day Kathua verdict was pronounced, convicting six and acquitting one accused, Deepika Rajawat took to Twitter to make a little announcement for herself.
I was waiting for this day to share with you all that I have started working on my first book on my journey as a lawyer who took up Kathua case as challenge in the face of threats and intimidation. A lot to share.
Hopefully it will be there with you all a month or so.
— Deepika Singh Rajawat (@DeepikaSRajawat) June 10, 2019
In November last year, in an affidavit filed at the Pathankot sessions court by the victim’s father Mohammad Yousaf, who is also the main complainant of the FIR, said Deepika will no longer be his advocate in the case and he is withdrawing the power of attorney issued to her.
Kathua rape case was top news for several weeks in the country, and Deepika was hailed as a hero of the case. It was argued that if Deepika Singh had not joined the case, the victim would have never got justice. And she became a superstar after she got a thumbs up from Hollywood star Emma Watson. In April this year, Watson tweeted “All power to Deepika Singh Rajawat”.
All power to Deepika Singh Rajawat ✊?https://t.co/sZzDVcIFNo
— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) May 3, 2018
Deepika also had won the ‘Woman of the Year’ award by the Indian Merchants Chamber of Commerce & Industry Ladies Wing.
However, in November last year it came to light that Deepika had attended only 2 hearings in the case that was being heard by Pathankot session court. Sessions Judge Dr Tejwinder Singh was hearing the case on a daily basis as per Supreme Court order, and a total of 110 hearings had taken place already in the five and a half months. But the celebrity lawyer, who was supposed to lead the fight for justice of the victim, attended only 2 of these hearings.
According to Yousaf, the victim’s father, Deepika Rajawat had said that there was a threat to her life in Pathankot, which was why she could not go there for hearings. In view of this, Yousaf had informed the court that he was removing Deepika Rajawat from the case.
Interstingly, when the Supreme Court had moved the case to Pathankot, Deepika had projected it as a victory for her. She had also expressed her happiness at the case being transferred to a ‘safe and peaceful’ place and thanked the top court for the same. However, suddenly Pathankot became ‘unsafe’ for her.
It may be noted the Kathua rape and murder case was a criminal case, and as per law, the state fights the case against the accused. The victim need not appoint any lawyers. But often victims choose to engage private lawyers if they feel that the public prosecutors may not be able to present the case properly. But even in such cases, the private lawyers work only as assistants of the public prosecutors, they can’t work in the case independently.
Mohammad Yousaf had retained his other private advocates assisting in fighting the case but removed Rajawat. To top it, Deepika shamelessly said that she did not betray the Kathua victim and her family but her family betrayed her (for firing her for not doing her work properly).
Deepika showed off her magnanimity by claiming how she was there with them “when no one was” but now “since the rainy days have passed”, they are winding up with her “just because” she could not regularly attend the trial. She attended 2 out of 110 hearings, skipping 108 hearings. Perhaps she was too busy collecting awards and giving interviews to international publications for her ‘great work’ of skipping hearings.
And “rainy days have passed” in the above tweet probably meant the compensation from the general public who donated out of the goodness in their hearts as well as government. She very generously put up another disclaimer that she does not blame the grieving parents for removing her owing to her lack of attendance. Because it is “the human tendency which travels in genes.” Extremely classy way of blaming the victims for not doing your own duty. Wonder if all this is also covered in her book.
And now, after all this, she has written a book where she talks about her ‘journey as a lawyer who took up Kathua case as challenge in the face of threats and intimidation.’ She says the book comes out next month. We shall wait and see if she mentions the part where she abandoned the family. Or the part where she went on a wanderlust collecting awards across the world in name of Kathua victim while she could not go to Pathankot to attend the hearing.
The entire Kathua case was mired in controversy from the word go where the self-proclaimed champions of human rights took it upon themselves to get justice for the little girl. Except, the said crusaders ended up being shady characters themselves.
Advocate Talib Hussain, who was a prominent activist demanding justice for the victim, was later accused of rape by two women. He was also accused of domestic violence and attempt to kill his wife over dowry. And then there was Rajawat, who played victim after she was fired for not doing her work.