Crime

Kathua rape and murder case: Victim’s lawyer issues legal notice to news channel Zee for ‘airing false statement’

Advocate Sangeeta Madan on behalf of Advocate Deepika Singh Rajawat who is fighting the rape and murder case of an 8-year-old Kathua girl on Wednesday issued a legal notice to Mayank Aggarwal, Senior Manager, Strategy & Planning Zee Media Corporation for airing ‘a false statement, communalizing the issue maligning the reputation of the advocate.’

The programme ‘DNA’ titled “देखें, गैंगरेप पीड़ित के नाम पर लाखोंका चंदा जमा करने का खेल” was broadcasted on April 17. In the press statement and the legal notice, it is mentioned that the channel had “aired a false statement made by one Mr Bhatti to the anchor Mr Sudhir Chaudhary to the effect that she had spent the last 2-3 days in JNU without verifying the material facts to portray her in a communal light.”

“While there is nothing unlawful or immoral about being at JNU, the clear innuendo of the report was that my client was supporting anti-national activities by virtue of the mere fact that she was allegedly at JNU. This is not only defamatory of me but also of an entire institution, namely JNU,” reads the legal notice.

It further reads, “The aforesaid act of your channel Zee News Hindi, which has been done without proper verification of facts, is contrary to the factual position and is in gross breach of journalistic ethics. While my client reiterates that she has never stayed at JNU, she nevertheless firmly believes that there cannot be anything remotely wrong in staying in JNU, if ever she did. Your innuendoes and spreading of communal hatred constituted a threat to her life.”

ALSO READ: Kathua victim’s lawyer says she is facing a ‘social boycott, can get killed, raped’

It was also implied in the programme, Deepika writes, that “vast amounts of money has also been collected in the name of the Kathua victim, and speculated whether the money has actually reached the victim or her family.”

“When read in the context of the reference to me, there’s an innuendo that I could have received money. I wish to make it clear that I have not accepted any money from any source for my legal representation in defence of the Kathua victim. My entire legal team – including Mr Sunil Fernandes, Advocate-on-Record, Ms Indira Jaising, Senior Counsel, and Lawyers Collective in Delhi – has provided legal services pro bono, and has made a clear declaration that they are providing legal services free of charge,” reads Deepika’s press statement.

The legal notice calls upon the channel to disclose the source of its information, take down the video of the news item circulating online, and issue an appropriate correction as prominently as the news report.

“You are also called upon to broadcast a corrigendum on all your news channels tendering apology for carrying the malicious, false news item full of communal innuendo without proper verification of facts and vilifying my client, failing which legal action may be initiated by my client against you and a complaint will be lodged with the News Broadcasters Association appropriate authorities and in the Court of Law,” reads the notice adding that the channel’s reports are trying to reach Deepika and that it should restrain them from doing so.

“Any clarification that is required will be made by me in writing. Please note that my client does not wish to make any statement or give any interviews to your channel,” read the notice issued by Advocate Sangeeta.

“I am not deterred by the fake and false propaganda spread against me and I will continue to do my professional duty without fear or favour,” Deepika mentions in the statement adding that she has deactivated her twitter account and will be lodging a compliant with the Cyber Cell, Delhi Police regarding the hacking of her her old twitter account.

The gangrape and murder of the eight-year-old girl, who belonged to nomadic Muslim community, took place in the Kathua district in January. After being missing for a week, her body was found on January 17.

Eight accused have been arrested in the case, and have pleaded not guilty. The lawyer of the accused has also said that they are ready for a narco test. 

The lawyer of the victim, Deepika Singh Rajawat has said that she fears for her life and could get killed or raped. She also added that the she is facing a social boycott and is being called ‘anti-Hindu’ for taking up the case.

According to a report published in The Times of India, the father sought security for the victim’s family and lawyers representing them.

Moreover, the victim’s father has moved a plea in the Supreme Court asking for the transfer of the case to Chandigarh.

The Supreme Court on Monday had asked Jammu and Kashmir court to reply by April 27 whether a plea to transfer the Kathua rape and murder case from the state’s courts to Chandigarh should be allowed.

The Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday said that the trial won’t be shifted outside the state and is likely to be conducted in a Jammu court on fast track basis.

The Minister for law, Abdul Haq Khan told English Daily Greater Kashmir that the Jammu and Kashmir Government was committed to a fair and speedy trial in the case. He said there were more than 100 witnesses in the case who would not be able to travel outside the state for deposition.


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