The young lawyer-activist Talib Hussain who also belongs to Bakerwal community as the 8-year-old Kathua rape-murder victim, was the man behind making the horrific incident a National story. In an interview conducted by noted journalist Barkha Dutt, Hussain narrates his struggle for highlighting the brutal rape and murder.
“Why not a Hindu-Muslim Ekta Manch or a Secular Ekta Manch?” he asks as he lashes out against the self-appointed Hindu group that defended the rape-accused.
Excerpts of the interview
When asked, whether he knew the victim or her family personally before the incident, he says “I am from the same community and I studied as a child in the same village, The moment I found that her body was recovered on January 17 and what had happened to her, I spoke to the local police and started organising protests.”
On being questioned about the accused, Hussain says, “Sanji Ram told the villagers not to allow Muslim Bakarwal tribals to use land and leaves for their cattle, for which the Bakarwals already pay. A falsehood is being spread that the tribals want rights to the land. No, we only want grazing rights or forest rights.” Adding that there are eyewitnesses who can prove that he had said this.
The lawyer-activist further says that “This Hindu Ekta Manch was formed not to save Hindus, but to save rapists.”
On being asked about as to why critics question his credibility, and also about the charges of attempt to murder on him, Hussain says, “In 2013, a young boy in my community was beaten by the police, and he died on being hit on his head. Because I led protests against this, a false case was registered against me. I am sure, I will be acquitted.”
Hussain also recalls his childhood saying, “I am proud I grew up in Jammu. My best friends in school were Hindus. I used to go to school barefoot as did not have shoes; my Hindu friend’s mother gifted me a pair of shoes and I cry today on remembering this.” He adds that it is politicians who create trouble, there is love between the two communities.
-With TheWeek inputs