Kathua whistleblower framed in false cases

A hyper active Jammu Police cook up a false case to defy restraining orders by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court against arresting Bakerwal activist Talib Hussain

NH Photo by Pramod Pushkarna
NH Photo by Pramod Pushkarna

Ashutosh Sharma

When a police team from Samba covered over 250 Kms and reached Tral in Pulwama to arrest Talib Hussain, they were in for a shock. They had left Samba to arrest Hussain in a case of domestic violence and dowry harassment filed by his estranged wife.

But they had no idea that while they were travelling, the Srinagar wing of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had passed restraining orders, preventing police from arresting Hussain in the case. The High Court order followed the testimony of two policemen, Personal Security Officers deputed to Hussain following directions of the Supreme Court of India.

Both the PSOs had testified that on the day mentioned by his estranged wife when she was allegedly assaulted, Hussain was 200 kilometres away at Banihal and both of them were with him.

The police team from Samba called back for instructions. And they were told to arrest Hussain for rape, lodged by the sister-in-law of his estranged wife.

“The FIR in the rape case was filed at around 12.30 pm on July 31, when the Samba police team was already sitting at the Tral Police Station 250 Kilometres away,” claimed Mubeen Farooqi, a lawyer appearing for Hussain.

A sessions court in Samba (Jammu) on Friday remanded the Kathua whistleblower to jail after police filed a charge sheet in cases related to the rape and allegedly illegal possession of the meat chopper under the Arms Act 

“It’s clearly a false case filed to intimidate Talib Hussain, a key witness in the Kathua rape and murder case,” said Farooqi. Asked if he would be able to substantiate the claim in a court of law, the lawyer confidently replies in the affirmative.

Hussain found himself in the eye of a storm since he pursued the Kathua rape and murder of an eight-year old Bakerwal girl in January this year. It was largely due to the efforts of Hussain that the case reached the Supreme Court and the trial was transferred out of the state to Pathankot.

Farooqi alleges that sustained efforts are being made by Jammu Police, a section of the lawyers and politicians to intimidate key witnesses in the Kathua case, threatening them with false cases.

A large number of false FIRs, he says, have been filed against Hussain, ranging from attempt to murder his father-in-law, attempt to commit suicide and for possessing a meat chopper, which is a fairly common possession among Bakerwals.

A sessions court in Samba (Jammu) on Friday remanded the Kathua whistleblower to jail after police filed a charge sheet in cases related to the rape and allegedly illegal possession of the meat chopper under the Arms Act.

After his family accused the police of torturing Husain on police remand, he was booked for allegedly banging his head against a wall, attempting suicide while in custody on August 6. A charge-sheet against him in “attempt to suicide” case has also been produced in the court.

On August 8, a three-member bench — comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee — heard a habeas corpus petition filed by Indira Jaising and Sunil Fernandes, alleging torture perpetrated against the activist. The apex court issued a notice to the State Police to file a reply to the allegations. The matter will be next heard on August 21.

Jammu based advocate AK Sawhney, a counsel representing the accused persons in Kathua case, has urged Jammu and Kashmir Police Chief to speed up investigation in the other FIRs against Hussain. Sawhney told the local media that Husain was involved in an attack on a police station during a protest demonstration over Kathua rape and murder case earlier in January when the battered body of victim was recovered.

Sawhney—who is also the counsel for Hussain’s estranged wife in a dowry and domestic violence cases filed against him in July—further alleged: “There is another rape case against Husain. His wife has filed a police complaint, alleging that Husain conspired with his brother and got his wife raped by him.”

Last month, his son Aseem Sawhney, who was also representing the main accused in the rape and murder of 8-year-old nomadic girl—was appointed as the Additional Advocate General by the Jammu and Kashmir government.

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