#MeToo in India: Media reports name man at forefront of Kathua protests who was accused of rape in anonymous account
A day after Firstpost published an anonymous account of an incident of rape, media agencies named an activist in the Kathua rape case as the perpetrator
A day after a woman accused an activist involved in the movement seeking justice for the victim of the Kathua sexual assault case, The Indian Express named the perpetrator in in an article published on Sunday.
"Bakerwal activist Talib Hussain, who was recently released on bail after spending two months in jail on charges of rape by a close relative of his estranged wife, has been accused of rape by another woman," the report said, identifying the accused in the anonymous account which Firstpost published on Saturday. The Firstpost article had not named the accused.
Earlier on Saturday, senior Supreme Court advocate Indira Jaising had announced that she planned to stop representing a Bakerwal activist after the allegations came to light following the Firstpost article.
"I do not intend to continue to appear on behalf of Talib Hussain anymore. I take the decision in view of my full support of the #MeToo movement," she wrote in an article published on The Leaflet.
Refuting the Cab-Rank rule, which states that no advocate should withdraw from professional obligations to a client irrespective of client identity, nature of the case, or the counsel's opinion about the client, Jaising said: "In my opinion the allegations made in the Firstpost article are a sufficient cause for me to take the decision to withdraw from this case. The Bar Council of India Rules in the chapter for 'Duties To Clients' does provide an advocate the exception to withdraw from services to a client if there is 'sufficient cause'."
This rule reads as:
“An advocate should not ordinarily withdraw from serving a client once he has agreed to serve them. He can withdraw only if he has a sufficient cause and by giving reasonable and sufficient notice to the client. Upon withdrawal, he shall refund such part of the fee that has not accrued to the client."
Former JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid, who tweeted about the incident naming the activist, 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 activist had risen to fame after he appeared in the case of the rape and murder of an eight-year-old Bakerwal girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua district. He was arrested by the police on the charge of rape by a relative.
According to National Herald, during the time the activist was making headlines for his support for the Kathua rape victim, he was invited to speak at multiple platforms like student conventions at universities like JNU, AMU, MANUU.
He spoke about many issues pertaining to the vulnerabilities of the Gujjar-Bakarwal community, with reference to the Forest Rights Act. The anonymous rape survivor attended one such event in JNU on 27 March, National Herald reported.
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